Former Special Agent Robert Booth will bring the world of spies and lies to Texas A&M through his upcoming lecture.
On March 25, The Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs will present Booth at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. reception and followed by the one hour lecture at 6:00 p.m. Booth’s lecture is based around his book “State Department Counterintelligence: Leaks, Lies, and Spies” and will cover topics such as counterrorism and espionage. Booth’s experience comes from his service to the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Office of Counterintelligence and overseas assignments.
His lecture will consist of four sections in which he will define counterintelligence and why it exists, address why an American would choose to disclose classified information, identify two countries that represent a significant threat to US national security, and walk the audience through an espionage case. According to Booth, economic espionage is the largest threat to citizens safety and he hopes his presentation will boost awareness of the topic.
“What I’m trying to do in this [presentation] so that people can be aware of what is currently going on, especially in America,” said Booth. “I think the spectacle or threat of economic espionage is not well explained.”
Booth said that A&M students could benefit from understanding the scope of the threat as it becomes apart of international conversation.
“The intelligence community works with business, both here and overseas, to remind them of the threat that they face from economic competitors,” said Booth. “I think it's not a bad idea for young Texas A&M students to be aware of this threat. It's a serious threat to America’s national security and its health. “
Ronald Sievert, associate professor and director of the certificate in advanced international affairs program, invited Booth because of his expansive background with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
“[Bureau of Diplomatic Security] is a really interesting part of the state department,” said Sievert. “They combine the work of secret service-guarding diplomats and embassies — plus FBI and investigation and CIA intelligence. Their work at the Diplomatic Security combines all of that.”
According to Sievert, current Aggies may have an interest in a career similar to Booth’s, as other students have gone into the field in the past.
“The Bush school has a number students who are interested in state department, foreign affairs and intelligence, it seemed like he’d be a good man to come here and speak,” said Sievert. “[The State Department] is a very important office and we’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of our Bush school students, not only go to the state department and, but also a number went directly to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.”
Andrew Natsios, executive professor and director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, experience the effect of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s protection as the administrator of the US Agency for International Development during his international trips. According the Natsios, the risk to US security should be a concern of every citizen.
“The reality is that we live in a hostile world. The whole world is not our friend,” said Natsios. “It's a great power rivalry, which has become more intense the last five or six years, [that] is getting more intense. The risk of espionage is increasing and I think the American people and our students need to understand as citizens that there's a risk to the United States leadership in the world.”
For more information about the event, visit https://calendar.tamu.edu/bushschool/#!view/event/event_id/65873