The 9/11: Intelligence and National Security Twenty Years Later conference will look back at the day of the attacks 20 years ago to understand their impact through personal stories, policy reflections, and consideration for the long-term impact on American society.

We will convene senior national security officials who led the response, family members of those impacted by the event, veterans of the War in Afghanistan, former intelligence officers, and historians. The five panels will examine the day of the attack, subsequent reactions, the impact on American society, the historical record after twenty years, and considerations for future policy in the aftermath of Taliban return to rule.

While this virtual event is on the record, the event organizers prohibit any attendees, including journalists, from audio/visual recording or distributing parts or all of the event program without prior written authorization. Contact Sharon Wilke at


9:00AM to 9:10AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks
Paul Kolbe

9:10AM to 9:30 AM: Keynote
Philip Zelikow

9:30AM to 10:30AM: Session One: The Day of the Attack: 20 Years Ago

Moderator: Paul Kolbe

Panelists: Michael Morell, James Clapper, David Sanger

Beginning with national security leaders serving at the time of the attack, the moderator will explore professional perspectives on what happened the day of September 11, where panelists were serving that Tuesday morning, and their first thoughts and actions on what to do in response in the immediacy of an unprecedented crisis. 

10:45AM to 11:45AM: Session Two: The Response: Government Reactions Following 9/11

Moderator: Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Panelists: Ambassador Henry Crumpton, General (Ret) Gene Renuart, John Farmer

This panel will include policymakers, military personnel, and intelligence officers that led the response to 9/11 in the subsequent weeks, months, and years following the day of the attacks. The moderator will unpack key decision-points and developments related to government responses in an emerging Global War on Terrorism. 

12:15PM to 1:00PM: Lunch Conversation - A View from the Ground – The Response in Afghanistan

Moderator: Natalie Colbert

Panelists: Phil Reilly, Mike Hurley

Recollections of those in first wave of the ground response into Afghanistan. The Taliban collapsed under US ground and air pressure in 2001, with miniscule US footprint, just about as fast as the Afghan govt and army collapsed in 2021. Why? How? And what does it mean for today? 

1:30PM to 2:30PM: Session Three: The Impact: Personal and Societal 

Moderator: Michael Miner

Panelists:  9/11 Family Group - Brenda Berkman, Ann Van Hine, Steve Kern

This panel will include those personally impacted by the attacks or during service in the aftermath. The moderator will explore how this unprecedented event shaped American society. Questions and discussion will offer an opportunity to hear personal reflections from those affected and how this moment changed lives forever. 

2:45PM to 3:45PM: Session Four: Twenty Years Later - 9/11 History

Moderator: Calder Walton

Panelists: David Omand, Philip Zelikow, Christopher Andrew  

With the passage of two decades, historians now have a longer view of the impact of 9/11 on governments and societies around the world. Moderated by Calder Walton, this panel of historians and political scientists will grapple with the historical implications of 9/11 and what we have learned over the past twenty years. 

4:00PM to 5:00PM: Session Five: The Future - Applying 9/11 History

Moderator: Graham Allison

Panelists: Michael Morell, Amb Henry Crumpton, Phil Zelikow

A driving question for current practitioners is how we learn from the lessons of history and adapt to meet modern and future challenges. This panel will feature currently serving policymakers and their reflections on how 9/11 shaped their worldview and decision-making for a world dramatically different than September 10, 2001. Digital/cyber/tech - what are the possible future 9/11’s, how do we spot them, and how do we prevent them. 

4:30PM: Closing Remarks
Paul Kolbe

Graham Allison

Dr. Graham Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught for five decades.  He is a leading analyst of national security with special interests in nuclear weapons, Russia, China, and decision-making.  Dr. Allison was the “Founding Dean” of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and until 2017, served as Director of its Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which is ranked the “#1 University Affiliated Think Tank” in the world.  As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for “reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal.” This resulted in the safe return of more than 12,000 tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics and the complete elimination of more than 4,000 strategic nuclear warheads previously targeted at the United States and left in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus when the Soviet Union disappeared.  

Dr. Allison’s latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (2017), is a national and international bestseller.  Dr. Allison’s first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), ranks among the all-time bestsellers with more than 500,000 copies in print.  

As “Founding Dean” of the modern Kennedy School, under his leadership, from 1977 to 1989, a small, undefined program grew twenty-fold to become a major professional school of public policy and government.  As Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Clinton and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, he has been a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Advisory Board for every Secretary from Weinberger to Mattis. He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal, first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry.  Dr. Allison was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was educated at Davidson College; Harvard College (B.A., magna cum laude, in History); Oxford University (B.A. and M.A., First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics); and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science).


Christopher Andrew

Christopher Andrew is Emeritus Professor of Modern & Contemporary History at Cambridge University, Fellow and former President of Corpus Christi College, Honorary Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast, former Official Historian of MI5 and author of its centenary history, founder of the Cambridge (UK) Intelligence Seminar and former Visiting Professor at Harvard, Toronto and the Australian National University. His books on intelligence include several on KGB operations written in collaboration with Oleg Gordievsky and Vasili Mitrokhin, using files exfiltrated by them from KGB archives. Professor Andrew’s most recent book, The Secret World: A History of Intelligence, won the Airey Neave Book Prize and was a Times and Telegraph Book of the Year. Forthcoming: Stars and Spies: Intelligence Operations and the Entertainment Business (with Julius Green; UK publication October 14, 2021)


Brenda Berkman

Brenda Berkman retired on September 14, 2006 as a Captain in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) after serving the City for twenty-five years. She was assigned to firehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Capt. Berkman began her career in the fire service after winning the federal sex discrimination lawsuit she initiated that resulted in the hiring of New York City’s first women firefighters. The documentary “Taking the Heat” chronicles her struggle to integrate women into the FDNY. Berkman responded to the World Trade Center with the FDNY on September 11, 2001, spending not only that day but many months thereafter searching for survivors and remains. Her oral history of that time is included in the book The Women at Ground Zero. Since retirement from the FDNY, Capt. Berkman’s passions have shifted to volunteer work and art. She has volunteered leading tours of the 9/11 Memorial and giving talks at both the Tribute Museum and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Ten years after 9/11, she created a series of self-portraits about her experience. For the 15th anniversary, Berkman created a series of lithographs, Thirty-six Views of One World Trade Center, to document the rebuilding of lower Manhattan. A book about and an exhibit of that series of prints are planned for September 2021.   


James R. Clapper

James R. Clapper was named a Belfer Center non-resident Senior Fellow in February 2017. 

Lt. Gen. Clapper (ret.) served from 2010 – 2017 as the Director of National Intelligence. In that position, he led the United States intelligence community and served as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.

Previously, Clapper served in two administrations as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he was the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on intelligence, counterintelligence, and security matters for the Department. In this capacity, he was also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence for DNI.

Earlier, he directed the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), transforming it into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it is today. He also served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and to the Departments of Defense and Energy and as a member of a wide variety of government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups.

Clapper, who began his military career as a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s over Laos and Cambodia. He was Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at U.S. Air Force Headquarters during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Director of Intelligence for three war-fighting commands: U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command. Following his retirement from military service in 1995, Clapper worked in the private sector for six years as an executive in three companies focused on services for the intelligence community. He was a member of the Downing Assessment Task Force that investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, and was vice chairman of a commission chaired by former Gov. Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security.

Clapper earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

His awards include three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award. He has also received the NAACP’s National Distinguished Service Award and the Presidentially-conferred National Security Medal.


Natalie Colbert

Natalie Colbert is the Belfer Center’s Executive Director. Before coming to the Center, Colbert served in the Central Intelligence Agency for 13 years. Most recently, she was Director of Analytic Resources and Corporate Programs for the Near East Mission Center, where she led strategic management of analytic personnel resources and created a career development seminar for mid-level analysts.

Prior to this role, Colbert led multiple analytic teams to produce intelligence assessments covering fast-paced issues in the Middle East for the President and other customers in the policymaking, intelligence, and military communities. Colbert previously served as an intelligence analyst covering conflict zones in Africa and Latin America. Across her CIA career, Colbert has earned awards for leadership excellence and in 2021 received the Near East Mission Center Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Colbert is a 2008 graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, where she earned a Master in Public Policy. She graduated in 2006 from New York University, majoring in International Relations and Francophone Studies.


Henry A. Crumpton

Before founding Crumpton Group, Hank spent 24- years in the CIA’s Clandestine Service, operating mostly in the foreign field, including tours as Chief of Station. From 2003-2005 he was the Chief of the CIA’s National Resource Division, responsible for all Clandestine Service operations in the United States. In 2005 President George W. Bush appointed him Ambassador-at-Large and US Coordinator for Counterterrorism. Hank is the recipient of the Donovan Award, the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Intelligence Commendation Medal, and the Sherman Kent Award for an outstanding contribution to the literature of intelligence. For leading the CIA’s Afghanistan campaign 2001-2002, he earned the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest award for achievement.

Hank previously served on the advisory boards of AECOM, the Coca Cola Company, and DC Capital Partners. He was a director of Argan Inc. He currently is on the boards of NavSight Inc, Allied BioScience, and the CIA Officer’s Memorial Foundation. He is on the advisory board of Stone Canyon Industries. He is also a partner in AIM13/CVP, a venture capital firm.

A graduate of the University of New Mexico and, with honors, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, he is a contributing author to Transforming U.S. Intelligence (2005) and the author of The New York Times bestseller, The Art of Intelligence (2012).


Michael Hurley

Michael served 25 years in CIA where he managed CIA personnel in conflict areas around the world.  Following the 9/11 attacks, he led CIA teams in Afghanistan focused on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. He was a Team Leader and Senior Counsel on the 9/11 Commission and co-authored its national-bestselling, final report. He served in conflict areas in the Balkans combating ethnic cleansing and helping bring peace to the region; twice on the National Security Council staff at the White House as an adviser to the President; and was an adviser on counterterrorism to senior levels of the State Department. He was a key member on a presidentially-commissioned team on the Middle East conflict. He currently advises and mentors several of the top technology companies in the United States. Michael is an attorney.


Stephen F. Kern

Stephen F. Kern worked for 20 years in the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) as an attorney for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, a bistate agency that built and owned the WTC. On September 11, 2001, he was the Chief of the Claims Division and supervisor of 12 employees, nine of whom were in the offices of the division on the 62nd floor of the North Tower at the time of the attacks. Beginning at 8:46 that morning when the first jet hit their tower, he and his colleagues participated in the nerve-wracking evacuation. At one point before descending the stairs, he found one of the division employees under her desk paralyzed with fear. 

About 50 minutes after the attack, Kern reached ground level and proceeded to the Port Authority’s police headquarters located one level below ground between the two towers.  While there, the South Tower collapsed, necessitating his second WTC escape of the morning.

Kern was also in his office in the North Tower at 12:18 pm on February 26, 1993 when a van filled with explosives was detonated on a basement level of the WTC below his office.

After 14 more years with the Port Authority, Kern retired and became Director of the Office of the Diaconate for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen in central NJ. He is married to his wife of 43 years and has three grown children and three grandchildren. He is active as a deacon at his home parish in west central NJ. In memory of his fallen colleagues and friends, Kern is active as a volunteer docent for the 9/11 Tribute Museum in Manhattan, where he conducts tours of the 9/11 Memorial and gives talks about his 9/11 experience.


David Omand

David Omand is Visiting Professor in War Studies, King’s College London. Previously his posts in British government service included UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator in the Cabinet Office, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, Director GCHQ, and Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Policy in MOD. He is a member of the Senior Advisory Board of Paladin Capital investing in digital and cybersecurity technology. He served for 7 years on the Joint Intelligence Committee (the JIC). He is the author of Securing the State (Hurst, 2010) and co-author with Professor Mark Phythian of Principled Spying: the Ethics of Secret Intelligence (OUP, 2018). His latest book, How Spies Think: 10 Lessons from Intelligence, is available as a Penguin paperback.


Philip F. Reilly

Phil Reilly is a retired CIA senior Operations Officer with a decorated 29 year career. He also served in the US Army Special Forces prior to CIA. Among the many positions he held, Mr. Reilly served as the CIA’s senior paramilitary officer as Chief of Special Activities Division and was charged with conducting Presidentially directed activities and also served as Chief of Operations of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Reilly had numerous foreign and domestic assignments including Chief of Station positions in Afghanistan (2008-2009), Europe and in the Far East. He also served as Deputy Chief of Station in Iraq and operated in Latin America and Africa. Mr. Reilly was the deputy commander of the first CIA team to enter Afghanistan two weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. Reilly is now a Senior Vice President at Orbis Operations, a Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group, and an advisor or board member of several companies in the national security, cyber and financial space.

Mr. Reilly is a graduate of Georgetown University, was a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School and attended leadership training at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He holds numerous awards including the CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Star, and the Director of National Intelligence Personal Medallion.


Victor Eugene “Gene” Renuart

General Victor Eugene “Gene” Renuart, USAF (Ret), is the Chairman of the Indiana Innovation Institute, a State supported applied research institute bringing research and advanced technology from Indiana University, Purdue, and Notre Dame as well as the State’s other academic leaders to bear on DoD most pressing challenges. Topics range from Trusted Microelectronics to Electro Optics to Hypersonics to Machine Learning and AI to Cyber Security to Advanced Microelectronic Manufacturing and Packaging.

General Renuart’s Air Force career culminated as Commander, NORAD and US Northern Command after nearly 39 years of distinguished service. In this last role, he was responsible for providing for the Homeland Defense and Defense Support to Civilian Authorities for the United States, and for partnering with Canada and Mexico in broader security issues for North America. He was also responsible for building the interagency cooperation necessary for the Department of Defense to partner successfully in support of over 55 government partners and 54 States, Districts, and Territories. Gen. Renuart also served as the Director of Strategy, Policy and Planning (J-5) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Senior Military Assistant to both Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld and Gates. The General has flown over 60 combat missions in a variety of US and Coalition operations.

Since retiring, Gen. Renuart founded The Renuart Group (TRG), LLC, a defense, homeland security, energy, project management, and leadership consulting firm, based in Colorado Springs. His principle focus at TRG has been to provide strategic advice to DoD agencies and major international defense corporations as well as develop commercially backed Public, Private Partnerships designed to assist the DoD in budget-constrained infrastructure requirements. He serves as a Director or Outside Manager for one publicly traded holding company and one privately held defense corporation and as well as the State of Indiana’s Energy Systems Network and is a past member of the UCHealth System Board of Directors. He is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and holds a Masters Degree from Troy University.

General Renuart is a member of the Military Advisory Group of the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, and a member of the Indiana University Foundation Board. He is also active with local Gold Star families, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) which provides support to spouses and families of our lost warriors, and the Remount Foundation, providing equine-based therapy for our recovering veterans and their families.


David E. Sanger

David E. Sanger is a White House and national security correspondent, and a senior writer. In a 38-year reporting career for The New York Times, he has been on three teams that have won Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2017 for international reporting. His newest book, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, and an HBO documentary by the same title, examine the emergence of cyberconflict and its role in changing the nature of global power.

He is also the author of two Times best sellers on foreign policy and national security: The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, published in 2009, and Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, published in 2012. For The Times, Mr. Sanger has served as Tokyo bureau chief, Washington economic correspondent, White House correspondent during the Clinton and Bush administrations, and chief Washington correspondent.

Mr. Sanger spent six years in Tokyo, writing about the emergence of Japan as a major American competitor, and then the country’s humbling recession. He wrote many of the first articles about North Korea’s emerging nuclear weapons program.

Returning to Washington, Mr. Sanger turned to a wide range of diplomatic and national security issues, from nuclear proliferation to the rise of cyberconflict among nations. In reporting for The Times and Confront and Conceal, he revealed the story of Olympic Games, the code name for the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, the American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with the Stuxnet worm. His journalistic pursuit of the origins of Stuxnet became the subject of the documentary “Zero Days,” which made the short list of Academy Award documentaries in 2016.

Mr. Sanger was a leading member of the team that investigated the causes of the Challenger disaster in 1986, which was awarded a Pulitzer in national reporting the following year. A second Pulitzer, in 1999, was awarded to a team that investigated the struggles within the Clinton administration over controlling technology exports to China. He has also won the Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting for his coverage of the Iraq and Korea crises, the Aldo Beckman prize for coverage of the presidency, and, in two separate years, the Merriman Smith Memorial Award, for coverage of national security issues. “Nuclear Jihad,” the documentary that Mr. Sanger reported for Discovery/Times Television, won the duPont-Columbia Award for its explanation of the workings of the A. Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. That coverage was also a finalist for a Pulitzer.

A 1982 graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Sanger was the first senior fellow in The Press and National Security at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. With Graham T. Allison Jr., he co-teaches “Central Challenges in American National Security, Strategy and the Pre


Ann Van Hine

Ann Van Hine lost her husband, a New York City firefighter, on 9-11. In 2006, she began volunteering with the 9/11 Tribute Museum and has spoken to school groups about experiencing personal loss amid a national tragedy, led walking tours of the National 9/11 Memorial, and participated in a hearing at the European Parliament. Her story will be included in a Netflix Documentary – “Turning Point 9/11.” Ann believes that the stories of September 11, 2001 are like a mosaic. The stories don’t fit together like a puzzle. Instead, they lay next to each other to form the larger narrative of what happened that day and since. As the author of the recently published Pieces Falling: navigating 9/11 with faith, family & the FDNY, Ann believes in the importance of humanizing history and sharing our stories. 


Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His books and essays focus on critical episodes in American and world history. A former civil rights attorney and career diplomat, he has also served at all levels of American government, federal, state, and local. His federal service includes work on international policy in five administrations, from Reagan through Obama. He served as the executive director of the 9/11 Commission and is one of only a few people in history to have served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He is currently leading the planning group for a national commission on the Covid pandemic crisis.