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John Rizzo

John Rizzo

John Rizzo has often been described as “the most important CIA lawyer in history,” and the description is almost certainly true.  A thirty-four year veteran of the CIA Office of General Counsel, he served as the Agency’s senior attorney for six of those years.  He focused his efforts especially on what was then called the Directorate of Operations (DO), which runs spies around the world and handles covert operations, but was also the Agency’s point man in dealing with Congress.  A graduate of Brown University and member of the Law Review at George Washington University School of Law, he received the 1996 Thomas C. Clark Award from the Federal Bar Association as the most outstanding government lawyer in the nation (the first intelligence community lawyer to be so recognized).  He has also received the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal (the highest decoration given to career CIA officers). He has had a long history of involvement with the Center, including addressing most of the National Security Law Institutes over the years