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King University News :: CIA Veteran John Buchanan Speaks at King University; Lectures Topics Included White House Situation Room and the Day bin Laden Died

John Buchanan, a 26-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), visited King University on Oct. 7 and 8.  Buchanan's visit was sponsored by the student-led King Security and Intelligence Studies Group (KSI) in association with the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies (KISIS).  During four lectures over two days, Buchanan discussed daily life in the West Wing, intelligence and the war on terrorism, and his role inside the White House Situation Room the day Osama Bin Laden was killed.

“King’s Security and Intelligence Studies program is committed to providing our students with a comprehensive understanding of the real world of intelligence, which often differs drastically from theoretical approaches to the subject,” said KISIS Director and SIS Program Coordinator Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis. “Mr. Buchanan, a longtime senior intelligence officer at the CIA, gave us a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the day al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed. He also reflected on the nature of security intelligence and how it supports Executive decisions on a daily basis.”

During his career at the CIA, Buchanan held various management positions and helped deliver a range of services, including executive intelligence support and information technology applications. He directly participated in human intelligence (HUMINT) operations during two CIA three-year field assignments and temporary duty in more than 50 foreign countries.  In Washington, D.C., Buchanan performed a variety of support roles to CIA’s HUMINT collection and reporting efforts. He also served 15 years in an inter-agency environment closely collaborating with Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Intelligence Community, and the Executive Office of the President. He retired from the CIA in Sept. 2011.

John Buchanan delivered four lectures at King University. His first two lectures on Monday, Oct. 7, were titled “Real-Life West Wing: The White House Situation Room” and “Executive Secrets: How the White House Uses Intelligence.” His Monday evening lecture was entitled “The Day bin Laden Died: An Account from Inside the White House.” His presentations concluded on Tuesday morning when he spoke on “Intelligence Sharing: Balancing the Need for Collaboration and Compartmentation.” All lectures took place in the Board Room of the Student Center Complex on King's Bristol campus.

King’s minor in Security and Intelligence Studies provides students with the opportunity to explore hot-button topics in several classes covering themes such as espionage and intelligence, international terrorism, the Cold War, covert action, and geopolitics. Career paths where a minor in SIS is beneficial include jobs in government, military, diplomacy, scientific research, or security consulting. Areas of study complemented by a SIS minor include political science, history, and business –-particularly finance, economics, management, and administration.  Other majors enhanced by the minor are neuroscience, forensic science, physics, mathematics, psychology, and foreign language. King is among only a few schools in the nation offering this type of program on the undergraduate level.

For more information on the lecture series or King’s Security and Intelligence Studies program, contact Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis at 423.652.6014 or



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