Former CIA WMD Chief Speaks on WMD Terrorism Threat

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On Tuesday April 5th, Mr. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center, spoke on "WMD Terrorism Threat: Lessons Learned from Al-Qaeda" as part of the 2011 CISTP lecture series.

After more than two decades in intelligence with the CIA and U.S. Department of Energy, Mowatt-­Larssen is now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center focusing on reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, counterproliferation, increasing domestic security, and understanding al Qaeda’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ambitions.

Prior to his appointment at the Belfer Center, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen served over three years as the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy, the top intelligence job within the DOE. In that position he led a 600-person organization whose responsibilities included the areas of nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation, science and technology, energy security, and counterintelligence. Prior to that, he served for 23 years as a CIA intelligence officer in various domestic and international posts, to include Chief of the Europe Division in the Directorate of Operations, Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Department, Counterterrorist Center, and Deputy Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support.

Mowatt-Larssen spoke on a number of topics including emphasizing the need for more scientists and engineers to be involved in security-related work and the importance of being able to convey technical concepts to policy makers. He noted the need to develop analytical, operational, and warfighting methodologies that are applicable to what is happening now (rather than trying to adapt existing frameworks) and the importance of measure and understanding uncertainty in different contexts.

Mr. Mowatt-Larssen’s talk was generously sponsored by the GEN Ray Davis Memorial Endowment Fund.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jene Gladstone
  • Created:04/18/2011
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016