Professor Thomas Fingar
The Oxford Union will be hosting the Sam Adams Associates for
Integrity in Intelligence award presentation on 23 January 2013. The ceremony will
feature several individuals well known in intelligence and related fields,
including, via video-stream, remarks by Julian Assange, winner of the Sam Adams
award in 2010.
The annual award presentation provides a rare occasion for
accolades to "whistleblowers" -- conscience-driven women and men willing to take
risks to honor the public's need to know.
This year's Sam Adams recipient is Professor Thomas Fingar, who is now teaching at Stanford
University. Dr. Fingar served from 2005 to
2008 as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of
the National Intelligence Council.
In that role, Dr. Fingar oversaw preparation of the landmark 2007
National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, in which all 16 U.S. intelligence
agencies concluded with "high confidence" that Iran had halted its nuclear
weapon design and weaponization work in 2003. The Estimate's key judgments were
declassified and made public, and have been revalidated every year
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Those pressing for an attack on Iran in 2008 found themselves
fighting uphill. This time, thanks largely to Dr. Fingar and the professional
intelligence analysts he led in 2007, intelligence analysis on Iran was
fearlessly honest. A consummate intelligence professional, Fingar would not
allow the NIE to be "fixed around the policy," the damning phrase used in the
famous "Downing St. Memo" of July 23, 2002 to describe the unconscionable
process that served up fraudulent intelligence to "justify" war with
We are delighted to be welcoming several previous Sam Adams
awardees, including Coleen Rowley, Katharine Gun, Craig Murray, Thomas Drake,
and Julian Assange (by video-stream) -- as well as other Sam Adams associates
from both sides of the Atlantic, including Ray McGovern, Brady Kiesling, Davdi
McMichael, Elizabeth Murray, Todd Pierce and Ann Wright.
We feel that the Oxford Union, dedicated to upholding freedom of
speech and providing a platform for all points of view, is a fitting venue. The
traditional acceptance speech by Dr.
Fingar will be followed by briefer remarks by a few previous Sam Adams
awardees. They will be followed by Julian Assange who will speak
for 20 minutes immediately before the Q&A, during which the audience will be
invited to put questions on any topic to any of the
Assange is clearly a figure who generates
controversy for reasons ranging from the allegations made against him in Sweden,
to the perceived recklessness of some WikiLeaks activities. We would therefore
encourage those who disagree with him, or with any of our other speakers, to
participate in the Q&A session.
Last but not least, we are happy to note that Dr.
Fingar, will be with us for the entire term. Professor Fingar has just begun
teaching a course at the University of Oxford on global trends and
transnational issues, as part of Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program. He
will also give guest lectures and public talks while here at Oxford
Professor Fingar holds a PhD in political science from Stanford.
His most recent book is Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and
National Security (Stanford University Press, 2011).