June 4, 2015 •
Interns Weigh In: Akron Roundtable with Michael Morell
State and Federal Communications is very active in our community. I serve on the Board of the Akron Roundtable, a community lunch program who has a mission of “Bringing the World to Akron.” Today, a special program was held featuring Michael Morell, former interim CIA Director, who happens to be from Northeast Ohio. I have asked Team Intern to submit a paragraph about the program.
- Costa Janos—Sophomore at The Ohio State University—Michael Morell is a local hero to all of us living in Akron, Ohio. He went to Cuyahoga Falls High School and also attended the University of Akron where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Economics. From what he remembers serving as the director of the CIA on September 11, 2001, was very intense as he was briefing President Bush. According to Morell, his list of challengers to the United States are 1) China; 2) Russia; and 3) Middle East. His list of threats to the US are made up of Al–Qaeda and ISIS. The reason he wrote the book was to share with us the amount of time and sacrifice the CIA puts in to help keep our country secure.
- Sophia Avouris—Freshman at Kent State University–Mr. Morell answered a lot of the questions I had in regards to what exactly was being changed by the Freedom Act and its implications in the surveillance field. I learned while phone records are available to the government, they are kept by the phone companies and a court order is required for the government to access them. I was also not aware Al–Qaeda was still considered the biggest threat, as I was under the impression they had lost a lot of their power and their spheres of influence were being taken up by other organizations. In addition, Morell’s opinion that Snowden was motivated by hubris to be very interesting, and an opinion I have not heard widely discussed in his more recent broadcasts.
- Nikolas Frazier—Junior at Kent State University—Michael Morell, former CIA Deputy Director, spoke at today’s Akron Roundtable luncheon about his book, The Great War of Our Time. Not only focusing on his book, Morell spoke candidly about his time in the CIA and more specifically, speaking about working as President George W. Bush’s daily briefer and his memory of September 11, 2001. His talk went quickly but all the while was very interesting. I would have liked more time of him especially on his views on North Korea and Iran. Morell also talked about Edward Snowden and attributed his leaking of classified documents as “the greatest loss of secrets in the history of the country.” I look forward to reading the rest of his book.
- Elizabeth Scozzaro—Junior at Baldwin Wallace—I enjoyed Michael Morell’s words on current events happening in the world. He was a part of the commission that proposed to President Obama to leave monitoring phone calls to the phone companies only. The government can only get phone call data if they have an important reason to ask a phone company for it. Morell also talked about how the TSA recently failed to detect weapons in a passenger screening. He let the audience know the TSA has taken this very seriously and will make improvements. Another current piece of information he shared was mentioning the importance of critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills required from younger people who wish to join the CIA in the future.
- David Jones—Sophomore at Stark State– Michael Morell former C.I.A Deputy Director was the speaker today. The speaker format was question and answer with Brouse McDowell Partner David Hunter interviewing. When Morell was asked what he considered the biggest threat to national security was he replied, “Al–Qaeda”. Which really surprised me considering the media attention on ISIS. He spoke on how the biggest issue concerning ISIS was instability in the Middle East, but the bigger threat to national security was Al–Qaeda because of its resources and connections. He also hauntingly said if Al–Qaeda were to bring down a plane in the US tomorrow it would not surprise him. He spoke at great length on many topics from cyber security to Snowden, and I will be eagerly listening to it again on June 11th when it airs on WKSU (wksu.org).
- David Trujillo—Sophomore at the University of Akron—Michael Morell is an informative and magnetic personality. I have absolutely nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the service he has offered to our country. National Security is a hot button topic with myself and many other service people and to listen to Morell’s take on the state of our national security as well as myriad security threats and challenges are both fascinating and at the same time motivating to get involved in the process of protecting the Homeland. He speaks sternly about serious issues but it is not without his own sense of humor. I have enjoyed reading his book so far and would like to extend my gratitude for allowing me to attend this event today.
I think it is important to hear what our young professionals think about issues affecting us. I travel to DC a lot and am always concerned about these issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read about the Akron Roundtable program. Stay tuned, on June 18th, we will have NPR Morning Edition Host David Greene in Akron.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
Photo of Michael Morell by Nikolas Frazier.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.