Thomas Twetten, a former chief of CIA clandestine operations, will speak at the University of Central Florida about topics such as the rise of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United States’ drone attacks as a reaction to those terrorists.
Twetten’s presentation, “The Globalization of Terrorism and the Response of Global Intelligence,” will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.
Twetten retired from the CIA in 1995 after working in clandestine services for 34 years. He spent the majority of his career in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.
In 1983, he began five years of leadership in the CIA Near East Division. He worked closely with the U.S. legislative and executive branches and with a wide range of other governments to forge a united front in support of the Afghan people. In recognition of his leadership, CIA Director William Webster picked Twetten to become deputy of clandestine service.
Twetten served as deputy or chief of CIA clandestine operations for nearly six years. During that time, he re-directed intelligence resources to assist new democracies in Eastern Europe and supported a coalition of allied forces in the Gulf War following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. He also placed new emphasis on fighting international narcotics trafficking, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
For his development and leadership of new strategies, Twetten was twice awarded the distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest honor.
Sponsors of Twetten’s presentation include the UCF Global Perspectives Office, The Sibille H. Pritchard Global Peace Fellowship program, Lawrence J. Chastang and the Chastang Foundation, the Orlando Area Committee on Foreign Relations, LarsonAllen LLP, the UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, the UCF Diplomacy Program, the UCF Political Science Department, the UCF Middle Eastern Studies Program, the UCF Terrorism Studies Program, the UCF International Services Center, UCF LIFE and the Global Connections Foundation.