Saints Enjoy Behind-the-Scenes Look at White House/CIA

Saints Enjoy Behind-the-Scenes Look at White House/CIA

Monday, October 17, 2016


Nine Siena students enjoyed the experience of a lifetime October 13-14, traveling to Washington, D.C. and Langley, Va. for a behind-the-scenes look at the White House and CIA. Deputy Director of Intelligence Integration Michael Dempsey '83 organized the trip, and the Saints also got the chance to meet with Director of Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli '80. The trip was funded through a gift by an anonymous donor.

Dempsey greeted the students in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building October 13 and provided background on his role and responsibilities during an engaging one hour discussion in the Secretary of War Room. Brett Holmgren, special assistant to the President and senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, provided the Saints with additional background on the National Security Council.

Next up was a tour of the East Wing of the White House, where the group enjoyed an up-close look at our nation’s most historic residence. Following a quick lunch, the Siena team boarded a bus to CIA headquarters where they toured the Agency Museum and Gift Shop and closed the day by meeting with the Director of the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB) Isabel Patelunas. Patelunas provided fascinating background on the development of the PDB, and then tested the Saints by calling on ROTC cadet Charles Carillo ’17 to present a mock brief.

On October 14, the Saints returned to CIA headquarters where they were once again greeted by Dempsey in the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) offices at Liberty Crossing. National Intelligence Officers Alan Pino and David Tapia led a spirited discussion on their role as lead analysts for the Middle East (Pino) and Latin America (Tapia). The Saints then proceeded to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) where they were greeted by Deputy Director, Directorate of Operations Support Andy Vail who provided a tour of the NCTC Operations Center – better known as “The Watch”. Cheryl Young, director of intelligence, Andrew Koch, director of strategic operational planning, and Alex Karls, directorate of terrorist identities, spoke about their roles in counterterrorism.

The trip concluded with Botticelli hosting a lunch in his office across from the Whitehouse. Botticelli spoke passionately about his work toward reshaping America’s drug policy for the Obama administration, and how his Siena education prepared him to be a compassionate leader.

The Siena delegation included Charles Carrillo '17, Courtland Ingraham '18, Patrick Kelly '17, Kylie Mason '17, Paige Nestler '18, Bailey O'Neill '17, Stella Pabis '17, Courtney Rafus '17, Kayla Rissew '18, Fr. Mark G. Reamer '83, OFM, Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., Mary Beth Finnerty '85, and Jason Rich '98.