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James Clapper

Former Director of National Intelligence
  • The nation’s top intelligence official for seven years under President Obama
  • Delivered the President’s morning intelligence brief, assessing and reporting on global threats daily
  • Oversaw all 17 American intelligence agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA
  • Draws on 50 years experience to break down the unique challenges facing the U.S. today
Topics & Types
Cyber SecurityNational SecurityGeopoliticsDecision MakingCrisis ManagementMilitary Leaders

Jim Clapper is one of the finest intelligence minds of the 21st century. From 2010 until 2017, he served as the fourth-ever Director of National Intelligence, the nation’s top intelligence official and the principal intelligence advisor to the President. He provided the President’s daily morning brief and held one of the broadest portfolios in the entire government, overseeing 200,000 intelligence employees internationally, a $52 billion budget, and high-profile organizations like the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Called one of America’s “most experienced and most respected intelligence officials” by President Obama, Director Clapper is a retired Air Force Lieutenant General who served two tours in Southeast Asia. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he brings 50 plus years of military and intelligence experience to discussions regarding the unprecedented breadth of challenges facing the U.S. today—including transnational threats like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attacks, as well as the domestic threats posed by nation states like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. He is currently a national security analyst for CNN and author of the forthcoming book Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.

Asked to explain why he selected Clapper for DNI chief, President Obama said, “[He] possesses a quality that I value in all my advisers: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know even if it’s not what we want to hear.” Director Clapper brings this same mentality to every panel discussion and keynote—whether discussing the risks businesses face in an increasingly-digital world or reviewing the likely evolution of America’s geopolitical relationships. Clapper also espouses the importance of thinking long term, advocating for a focus on long-range threats including war in space and the ways in which artificial intelligence could imperil national security. 

While a majority of Director Clapper’s accomplishments remain shrouded in classification, notable public achievements include improving communication amongst domestic agencies, building partnerships with foreign governments, procurement reform, and sweeping IT upgrades. Director Clapper was in the Situation Room during the famous 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden and also played a pivotal role in uncovering the likely parties at work behind the 2016 hack of the DNC. He has been praised by Senator John McCain for providing “steady leadership for the Intelligence Community and wise counsel to the President and the Congress.”

Director Clapper is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President George H.W. Bush, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush, and the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. During the course of the Vietnam War, Clapper flew 73 combat support missions over Laos and Cambodia. He is a recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the U.S.’s highest non-combat related military award, and the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. He was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service twice—receiving the first from Secretary Robert Gates in 2010 and the second from Secretary Ash Carter in 2016—and was honored with the INSA’s William Oliver Baker Award. In 2017, in recognition of his storied career, he was awarded the FBI Director’s Medallion and the title of honorary Special Agent by FBI Director Comey.

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