Former CIA officer and Brookings Scholar to speak

As part of its continuing “Servant Leader” program, Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport, in conjunction with Pequot Library hosts a night of history, politics and discussion with Brookings Senior Fellow and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Bruce Riedel May 19, at 7:30 p.m., at the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Avenue, Southport.

Riedel will discuss his 30-year experience at the Central Intelligence Agency, from 1976 to 2006. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four U.S. presidents in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House.  Mr. Riedel was also Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a Senior Advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels.

Riedel was a member of President Bill Clinton’s peace process team and negotiated at Camp David and other Arab-Israeli summits and he organized Clinton’s trip to India in 2000. In January 2009, newly inaugurated President Barack Obama asked him to chair the inter-agency review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, the results of which the President announced in a speech on March 27, 2009.

In 2011, Riedel served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit. In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to brief the United Kingdom’s National Security Council in London on Pakistan.

At the Trinity forum, Mr. Riedel will discuss the key findings in his latest book, “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and Sino-Indian War.” In the book, Mr. Riedel points out that the same week the world stood transfixed by the Cuban Missile Crisis — and the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union — President Kennedy was also consumed by a war that has escaped history’s attention, yet still reverberates significantly today: the Sino-Indian conflict.

As well-armed and equipped troops from the People’s Republic of China surged across the border into Indian in October 1962, Kennedy ordered an emergency airlift of supplies to the Indian army. At the same time, he engaged in diplomatic talks that kept the neighboring Pakistanis out of the fighting. The conflict came to an end with a unilateral Chinese cease-fire, relieving Kennedy of a decision to intervene militarily in support of India.

“JKF’s Forgotten Crisis” provides the first full narrative of this crisis, which played out during the tense negotiations with Moscow over Cuba. He also includes another, nearly forgotten episode of US espionage during the war between India and China: covert US support of Tibetan opposition to Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Riedel tells this story of war, diplomacy, and covert action with authority and perspective.  He draws on newly declassified letters between Kennedy and Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru along with the diaries and memoirs of key players and other sources to make this the definitive account of JFK’s forgotten crisis. This is, Riedel writes, “Kennedy's finest hour as you have never read it before.”

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Based in Washington, DC, its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.


Information: April Gow, 203-542 568.

This special forum with Bruce Riedel is part of the “Servant Leader” series of lectures and discussions sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church. Additional events will be announced in the weeks ahead.

About Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity Church has been a center of worship and Christian community since 1724. Trinity offers many occasions when parishioners of all ages come together as a community for fellowship and friendship. Our Community is about what we do and what we offer that benefits not only our Trinity community but also the community at large. Trinity welcomes all people: our doors are open every day, all day, for prayer and rest.