John E. McLaughlin

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Person.png John E. McLaughlin   Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
John E. McLaughlin.jpg
BornJohn Edward McLaughlin
June 15, 1942
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materWittenberg University, University of Pennsylvania, SAIS
Member ofBrookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations/Members 2
Former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and acting Director of Central Intelligence

Employment.png Senior Fellow

In office
2020 - Present
EmployerPaul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Former acting Director of Central Intelligence

Employment.png Acting Director of Central Intelligence

In office
July 12, 2004 - September 24, 2004
Preceded byGeorge Tenet
Succeeded byPorter Goss

Employment.png Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

In office
October 19, 2000 - November 12, 2004
Preceded byJohn A. Gordon

John E. McLaughlin is a former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and acting Director of Central Intelligence.


In 1966 he finished a master of arts degree in international relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University. After graduating from SAIS, he worked as a U.S. Army officer from 1966 to 1969, including in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.[1]

McLaughlin's CIA career officially lasted more than 30 years, starting in 1972 with a focus on European, Russian, and Eurasian issues at the Directorate of Intelligence. From 1984 to 1985, he did a rotational tour at the State Department in the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs. He returned to CIA and worked as Deputy Director and Director of the Office of European Analysis from 1985 to 1989 during the period marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Four months after the break-up of the Soviet Union, he became Director of Slavic and Eurasian Analysis, from 1989 to 1995[2]. He was Deputy Director for Intelligence, Vice Chairman for Estimates of the National Intelligence Council, and Acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1995 to 1997; and Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1997 to 2000.[3]

While Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1997 to 2000, he created the Senior Analytic Service, a career track that enables CIA analysts to rise to senior rank without working in management. He also founded the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, an institution teaching the history, mission, and skills of the analytic profession to new CIA employees.

President Bill Clinton designated McLaughlin as the Acting Deputy Director of Central Intelligence on June 28, 2000 and later nominated him for the position. McLaughlin was unanimously confirmed as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence by the Senate on October 18, 2000. Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet swore in McLaughlin as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence on October 19, 2000.

After Tenet's resignation on June 3, 2004, the Bush Administration announced that McLaughlin would work as Acting Director after Tenet's departure on July 11, 2004. McLaughlin himself stepped down as Acting Director on September 24, 2004, after Porter J. Goss was confirmed by the Senate to be the new director. He then returned to his position as Deputy Director, and announced his retirement on November 12, 2004.

After official CIA career

As of 2020, McLaughlin works as a Senior Fellow and Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. He also was on the Guiding Coalition of the Project on National Security Reform. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Chairman of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. He also was on the Board of the OSS Society, CIA’s External Advisory Board, and the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Advisory Board. He is a Board of Trustees member at the Aerospace Corporation and the Noblis Corporation. [4]

We don’t blow up civilian airliners

On January 8, 2010, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced that he had appointed McLaughlin to head a group of experts to investigate the December 2009 bombing attempt by alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, and the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, carried out by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan. The group was tasked with making proposals to remedy weaknesses in intelligence systems and procedures that the incidents (ie a whitewash).

On 11 February 2018, Ludwig De Braeckeleer published on his Intel Today website an article entitled "One Year Ago — Former CIA Director John McLaughlin Tells a Whopper: 'We don’t blow up civilian airliners…'”[5]


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