Students got an inside look into the life of a CIA agent on Wednesday at a presentation with David Hunt, an ex-CIA intelligence officer.
Students quickly learned that the life of a CIA intelligence officer does not include an epic theme song, gun battles or retro sports cars.
David Hunt’s presentation described what he encountered during his time in the CIA in detail and how his actions affected the United States and its national security.
Students learned about many of his operations, ranging from tours in Mogadishu, Somalia, to helping the U.S. government fight against espionage, to engaging in talks with “walk-in” opponents of the United States.
Hunt spoke thoroughly about his tour in Somalia. He told students that on his tour he met an Italian engineer working for the Soviets, who tipped Hunt off about a Soviet airfield expansion at the port of Berbera in northern Somalia.
Hunt then assisted a special team of operatives posing as U.S. consuls on a trip to Berbera, where they found a Soviet airfield with military equipment used for missiles capable of targeting Europe. Hunt’s actions allowed the United States to find the missiles, and allowed funding for expansion of the U.S. Navy installation at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
“One of the things you hope on an overseas tour is that you make a difference,” said Hunt.
Hunt also described instances of espionage towards the United States, with one of the most outstanding coming from the French. According to Hunt, for many years, the French would break into American businessmens’ hotels to steal blueprints and data from sensitive companies.
He also described his experiences with “walk-ins.” A walk-in is a type of contact that engages in secret talks with the United States behind the backs of their affiliated nation.
Two walk-ins that Hunt encountered during his career were a Czech General that sold state secrets of the Warsaw Pact in order to pay for debt and a North Korean embassy trainee that traded secrets for asylum in the U.S.
Hunt explained that the CIA is never hesitant to accept information
“The United States will always accept any information on its enemies,” Hunt said.
He also disproved myths about how the CIA runs and asserted his opinion on the recent events such as the Benghazi attack and the Edward Snowden leaks.
Despite beliefs that the CIA operates autonomously, Hunt clarified that the “CIA operates completely under government control.”
He also clarified his position that the killing of Al-Awlaki and the NSA wiretapping are both justified.
Hunt stated that both “are completely allowed by U.S. law and are necessary to national security.”
He also commented briefly on Benghazi.
“It’s really sad that this [Benghazi] happened. It was a slip up from the state department and it should have been Hillary’s priority to protect the embassy,” Hunt said.
Students appreciated the rare experience of getting knowledge about a field they don’t hear about often.
“It was a knowledge base you don’t often hear at a liberal arts college. It’s a field that you don’t get to hear the first hand experience that often,” said Chris Gabbett, a senior.