Speaker Series event plans moving ahead
STEUBENVILLE — Michael Hayden had a long and distinguished career serving his country that stretches back to the late 1960s when he was commissioned through the University of Pittsburgh’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
From working as an analyst at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska in the early 1970s, to serving as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center at Lackland Air Force Base in the late 1990s, to serving as a director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 through 2009, Hayden has been in the vanguard of our country’s war on terror.
He’ll speak about his career, the changes he has seen in how intelligence is gathered and help to provide some insight into current events when he appears at Catholic Central High School as part of the Trinity Health System Presents the Herald-Star Speaker Series.
It’s information that’s critical on many levels, according to Clint Marshall.
“We want to show our appreciation and gratitude for everyone who has served in the military in any fashion,” said Marshall, regional manager for EZtoUse.com, which is one of the major sponsors for the April 27 presentation. “We are happy to be a part of it.”
Hayden has dealt with cyber security, government surveillance and geopolitics while navigating through the domestic political system, having served as the NSA head under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and as head of the CIA under Bush and President Barack Obama. He’s seen how rapid changes in technology have affected how intelligence is gathered and shared, especially since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We think it’s important for someone with his firsthand knowledge and his experience with terrorism, and with some of the security issues he has dealt with, to be heard in a public forum,” Marshall explained. “I’m really looking forward to being able to hear him speak where he can discuss the things he has seen. We certainly have no clue as to how important his position would have been, and he certainly knows the importance of the work that has been done.”
A Pittsburgh native, Hayden tells his story in great detail in his memoir, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror,” which spent several weeks last year on the New York Times best seller list and recently has been released in paperback. He explains how American intelligence has responded to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years, the editors write in the notes on the jacket of the hardbound edition.
When the retired four-star general takes the stage in Berkman Theater at Lanman Hall at 7:30 p.m., he’ll be making the eighth presentation in the series, which began in November 2012.
“I really like the fact that we have the speaker series that is able to bring in people who are able to talk about some of the most relevant issues, some of the most current events and situations that affect not just the United States, but the world,” Marshall said. “His knowledge certainly goes beyond the borders of the United States as to the dangers we are facing. Plus, my father served in the Air Force, so I have a great appreciation of that.”
Past series speakers have included former Secret Service agent Clint Hill and his co-author, Lisa McCubbin; former CIA agent Antonio Mendez, who masterminded the escape of Americans from Iran in 1980 –a story that was dramatized in the film “Argo” — and his wife and former CIA agent Jonna Mendez; Capt. Richard Phillips, who was held captive by Somali pirates; retired Air Force Col. Mark Tillman, who piloted Air Force One; Rebekah Gregory, a survivor of the Boson Marathon attacks; Mark “Oz” Geist, a member of the annex security team that was involved in the Battle of Benghazi; and legal expert and political commentator Jeanine Pirro.
“We need to have people like Hayden giving us the right perspective on the issues we face, the firsthand perspective,” Marshall said.
Joining Trinity, EZtoUse.com and the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times as sponsors of the series are Cattrell Cos. Inc., the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Eastern Gateway Community College, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV.
Reserved seat tickets for Hayden’s presentation cost $20 each and are available by visiting heraldstaronline.com; at the Herald-Star office, 401 Herald Square; or by contacting Diana Brown at (740) 283-4711 during regular business hours. All tickets will cost $25 if purchased at the auditorium the night of the presentation.
Copies of “Playing to the Edge” are available for purchase for $25 at the Herald-Star. Attendees who have books will have the opportunity to have them signed after the presentation.
A limited number of VIP ticket packages are available at a cost of $150 for two tickets and $100 for a single ticket. The package includes admission to a private reception with Hayden that will run from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Catholic Central High School; hors d’oeuvres and beverages; the opportunity to meet Hayden and have a photograph taken with him; a copy of “Playing to the Edge;” a pass for reserved parking at the high school; and special seating for the presentation. Contact Cindy Kotsch at (740) 283-4711 for information.
A preferred seating option is still available. Priced at $50 per ticket, the package includes a paperback copy of “Playing to the Edge,” special seating and the opportunity to be among the first people to meet Hayden after the presentation. Contact Kotsch for details.
Area students will be able to attend the presentation at no charge, thanks to the Cattrell sponsorship. School administrators throughout the region have been contacted with the details about how students can obtain tickets. For information, check with school officials or contact Brown at the Herald-Star at (740) 283-4711.
Providing support for the presentation are the Best Western Plus University Inn at Franciscan Square, Piergallini Catering, Catholic Central High School, Newbrough Photo and Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental.