February 21, 2012
|Former CIA Director Porter Goss discusses national security. (Photo by David Noe)|
“We’re at war with a global network of fanatics who want to harm us, even kill us, just because of who we are,” began Porter Goss at Monday’s Winter Park Institute event. The former congressman and director of the CIA apologized in advance for bringing such a dark message to such a beautiful place. With what he called a “spirit of great seriousness,” Goss dolled out the “facts of life” regarding the United States’ current state of security. Judging by the packed house of attendees inside Bush Auditorium, no one minded his candor.
“These folks have declared us the enemy,” Goss warned. “They have all matters of weapons, are not restrained by any sort of civil protocol; they kill civilians at will; in fact, they target civilians. They can do us lots and lots of damage and they’re trying hard.”
While Goss sees such threats as real and imminent, he expressed a deep disappointment in the country’s ability to address them. “Our leadership has not sufficiently pulled together our collective will to eradicate this threat,” said Goss, who described the government’s stance as being inconsistent and uncertain. “Every country in the worlds has an intelligence organization; if we don’t have the best, then shame on us.”
Before Goss concluded by answering more than a dozen questions from the audience, he directly addressed the students in the room. “Today’s college students are going to have to come to grips with this reality,” said Goss, the father of three Rollins graduates. “I applaud the global outlook that is finally beginning to creep into our academic life.”
WPI will return on Tuesday, March 20 when Anthony Bannon—director of the Eastman House Museum of Photography and Film— will present "The Photograph As Icon: A Powerful Way of Seeing" as the first in a collection of events focused on photojournalism.