Former CIA director to deliver 2017 Dimbleby Lecture

John O Brennan's subject of security and stability is fitting in this time of “global turbulence and challenge”


The former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John O Brennan will deliver BBC1’s Dimbleby Lecture 2017.


Brennan, who was chief counterterrorism advisor to Barack Obama, is expected to assess the future prospects for “security, stability, and disruption in a highly dynamic and technologically driven world”.

The annual TV lecture has run for over four decades and is a tradition that honours the legendary broadcaster, Richard Dimbleby. Brennan will be the 41st speaker, joining the ranks of the Prince of Wales, Bill Clinton, Terry Pratchett, Baroness Lane-Fox, Christine Lagarde and Bill Gates.

The lecture, which will air on BBC One in early April, is traditionally given by a well-recognised leader in their field on a subject of national or international importance. Brennan said that his forthcoming lecture comes at a time of “global turbulence and challenge”. He also said it would be a “testament to the very strong and mutually respectful and empowering partnership between American and British security”.

Brennan served as Director of the CIA from 2013 until January 2017, responsible for leading and managing intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.

Before that he advised former president Obama on his counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the US Government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyber-attacks, natural disasters and pandemics.


For a period in the 90s, Brennan was the Agency’s intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton. He first began his service in the CIA in 1980.