John O Brennan Biography

John O Brennan is a former American intelligence officer who served as the 5th Director of CIA during President Barack Obama’s administration. With a long and distinguished career in the CIA, Brennan held various roles including analyst, daily intelligence briefer, station chief, and director of National Counterterrorism Center. He also served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism in the Obama administration. Currently, Brennan works as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: John Owen Brennan, John O. Brennan
  • Age: 68 Years, 68 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Kathy Brennan
    • Father: Owen Brennan
    • Mother: Dorothy Brennan
    • Children: Jaclyn, Kelly, Kyle
  • Born Country: United States
  • Notable Alumni: The University Of Texas At Austin
  • U.S. State: New Jersey
  • Education: The University of Texas at Austin, The American University in Cairo, Fordham University, Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School

Childhood & Early Life

John O Brennan was born on September 22, 1955, in North Bergen, New Jersey, to Irish immigrants Owen and Dorothy Brennan. His father worked as a blacksmith. He attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School and later Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in New Jersey. Brennan studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo in 1975-1976 and earned his B.A. in political science from Fordham University in 1977. He then pursued his Masters of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle East studies from the University of Texas at Austin, completing his degree in 1980.


In 1980, Brennan responded to a recruitment advertisement in ‘The New York Times’ and was selected to work as a Career Trainee in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. He joined the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), the agency’s analytic branch, in 1981. Over the years, he held various positions, including political officer at the U.S. embassy in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, and chief of station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also served as the CIA’s daily intelligence briefer at the White House during President Bill Clinton’s tenure. In 2009, Brennan became the Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism under President Barack Obama. He advised the President on counterterrorism strategy and played a role in shaping the government’s policies on terrorism, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics.

Controversies and Later Career

During his tenure as CIA Director, Brennan faced criticism for the agency’s use of drones and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He also oversaw the agency’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Brennan left the CIA in 2017 and was appointed a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. He also became a senior advisor to the university’s Intelligence Studies Project. In 2018, Brennan joined NBC News and MSNBC as a Senior National Security and Intelligence Analyst. He has been vocal in his criticism of President Donald Trump and had his security clearance revoked by the President in 2018.

Major Work and Awards

John O Brennan worked for the CIA for 25 years, eventually becoming its director in 2013. He was the first person since Robert M Gates to rise through the ranks of the agency and hold the top position. Brennan has received numerous awards for his work, including the National Security Medal, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. He has also been honored with the Director of Central Intelligence Director’s Medal and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Director’s Award.

Family & Personal Life

John O Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan, and they have two daughters, Kelly and Jaclyn, and a son, Kyle.

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