You might think he’s just another guy at Whole Foods, or perhaps a college professor. But John McLaughlin is a whole lot more. Once upon time, he was one of the nation’s top spies, spending more than 30 years at what they call The Agency – that’s the CIA to the rest of us. The Pennsylvania native originally went to school to study English, but detoured into International Relations, visiting more than 30 countries around the world. During his long career, he briefed four presidents, including a newly elected Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. McLaughlin served four years as Deputy Director of the Agency and briefly as interim Director of the CIA, where his main focus was counter-terrorism.
He retired in 2004, and is now 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. He is also a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
John spends his time teaching, traveling and advising governments on terrorist threats. Oh yeah, there’s also the magic. Seriously, John is a part-time magician. If you miss his regular pieces on OZY, you can catch him doing a trick or two in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden .