The nation’s war on terror is one of the most critical priorities facing our government. In his Statement to Employees on Remembering September 11th (issued September 10, 2010), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, stated:

September 11th, 2001 will forever be a defining moment for Americans. We will always grieve for those taken from us so violently. And we will both honor their memory and answer the enemy by showing our American character. We act justly and decisively against threats to our people, our freedom, and our nation.

That is our mission at CIA. We are entrusted with the high privilege and hard work of tracking down the terrorists who threaten our country. Al-Qa’ida recognizes no legal or moral constraints. We do, and can be especially proud of how we have answered the President’s call to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa’ida and its allies.

John Rizzo also brings many lessons learned from 9/11 as well as knowledge about the challenges that lie ahead. He is the Former Acting General Counsel of the CIA and has an in depth perspective about the war on terror.

On May 13, 2011 at the ACG monthly meeting, members and non-members will have the opportunity to hear Mr. Rizzo discuss his 34-year legal career at the CIA and how it culminated in his becoming the chief legal advisor for most of the post 9/11 years until his retirement. During his discussion, he will offer insight into how and why the CIA conducted its most controversial actions in response to the 9/11 attacks, including the detention, interrogation and rendition of senior Al Qaeda figures.

Mr. Rizzo retired from the CIA in December 2009, after 34 years of service, most recently as Acting General Counsel. In 1976, he began his career at the Agency where he was one of only 18 lawyers. Today about 130 lawyers penetrate almost every aspect of the Agency’s work.

Early in his career, Mr. Rizzo drafted the internal regulations governing the CIA’s relationships with the media, clergy, academia, and domestic businesses that are still in place. Later, Mr. Rizzo served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Congressional Affairs from 1986 to 1989, where he was the lead counsel dealing with the House and Senate Committees investigating the Iran-Contra affair.

The ACG meeting will occur on Friday, May 13, 2011 at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner at 7:30-9:00 am. To register, ACG members and non-members may click here. The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 11, 2011.