“For more than a dozen years, America has been in war. It was only 15 days after 9/11 that CIA officers put their boots in Afghanistan. CIA officers stand ready to serve, and the need for CIA officers has never been greater.”
Brennan went on to describe several current challenges the CIA faces: counterterrorism, cyber security and hot spots such as Syria.
Counterrorism is more diverse, dispersed and decentralized than in the past, and Brennan said the CIA constantly is at work against corruption and criminal networks to combat the changing face of counterterrorism.
Cyber security is a challenge for the CIA because technology changes so rapidly, Brennan said.
“The world is transforming itself before our eyes. This has profound implications for the way the CIA carries out its mission. Everyone is entrenched in the Internet,” he said.
Syria is one of the hotspot issues the CIA is focused on now, which Brennan said is so complex because of the factors it brings together, including civil war, sectarianism, chemical war, competing interests of the international community and more than 100,000 deaths.
“Meeting these and other challenges requires constant vigilance … We obtain and reveal secrets for the security of the American people and have to make sense of those secrets for policy makers to help them understand trends across the globe,” he said.
Brennan emphasized that while the CIA is not a perfect organization and has made mistakes in the past, many of the shortcomings people may hear about the CIA are not true.
“I caution you against the failings you may hear about the CIA. We do not operate in a vacuum. We’re overseen and carry out actions lawfully,” Brennan said. “Regardless of your political persuasion, your CIA officers are out there working tirelessly on their nation’s behalf. I know you’re in their thoughts, so please keep them in yours.