John E. McLaughlin

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For the talk show host, see John McLaughlin (host).
John E. McLaughlin, Acting Director of Central Intelligence, 2004.

John Edward McLaughlin (born June 15, 1942 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania) is the former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and former Acting Director of Central Intelligence. His CIA career lasted more than 30 years starting in 1972 with a focus on European, Russian, and Eurasian issues in the Directorate of Intelligence. From 1984 to 1985, he served a rotational tour at the State Department in the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, where he was responsible for following European relations with the Middle East, Central America, and Africa. He served as Deputy Director and Director of the Office of European Analysis from 1985 to 1989; Director of Slavic and Eurasian Analysis from 1989 to 1995; 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 - heading up the Agency’s analytical corps.[1]

He led review of counterterrorism "lessons learned" at request of the Director of National Intelligence. While Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1997 to 2000, he created the Senior Analytic Service, a CIA career track that enables analysts to rise to very senior rank without branching out into management. He also founded the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, an institution dedicated to teaching the history, mission, and essential skills of the analytic profession to new CIA employees.[2]

President Bill Clinton designated McLaughlin as the Acting Deputy Director of Central Intelligence on June 28, 2000; and later nominated him for that same 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 at a ceremony at CIA Headquarters on October 19, 2000.[3]

After Tenet's resignation on June 3, 2004, the Bush Administration announced that McLaughlin would serve 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 serve as the new director.[4] He then returned to his position as Deputy Director, and announced his retirement on November 12, 2004.

He currently serves as a Senior Fellow and Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., which has been a division of The Johns Hopkins University since 1950. He teaches a course on American Intelligence, involving issues related to American defense policy, counterterrorism, intelligence, irregular warfare, nuclear policy and proliferation, strategic and security issues, U.S. homeland security, and weapons of mass destruction.[5] He also serves on the Guiding Coalition of the Project on National Security Reform.

On January 8, 2010, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced that he had appointed McLaughlin to head a small group of national security experts on behalf of the Obama Administration to investigate the December 25, 2009, bombing attempt by alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253, and the November 5, 2009, shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, allegedly carried out by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan and to make proposals to remedy potential weaknesses in intelligence systems and procedures that the incidents exposed.[6]

In 1964 McLaughlin received a bachelor of arts degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He was a member of the Beta Iota chapter of Delta Sigma Phi. He completed graduate work in comparative politics at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1966 he earned a master of arts degree in international relations from SAIS, after having spent a year studying at the Bologna Center in 1965. After graduating from SAIS, he served as a U.S. Army officer from 1966 to 1969, completing a tour in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.[7] In 2001, he returned to Wittenberg to speak at the commencement ceremony.


Government offices
Preceded by
George Tenet
Acting Director of Central Intelligence
July 11, 2004 – September 22, 2004
Succeeded by
Porter J. Goss
Preceded by
General John Alexander Gordon
Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
2000 – 2004
Succeeded by
Vice Admiral Albert M. Calland