Ambassador Andrew Young lecturing on stage

Public Policy Lecture Series

In 2008, MCLA announced the establishment of the Public Policy lecture series, making public policy forums an ongoing part of the College's long-term speaker offerings, in complement to MCLA's major in political science and public policy.  The series is made possible through the generosity of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust. 

Clint Watts

NBC News Contributor, Former FBI Agent, Foreign Policy and Cyber Security Expert

Clint Watts


"Russian Spies, Social Media, and Fake News: An Inside Look at Russia’s Cyberwarfare Campaign Against American Democracy"


Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 7 p.m.
Church Street Center, Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium

Free and Open to the Public,
Information: 413.662.5224


Four years ago, the idea that Russian spies were secretly influencing American public opinion sounded like the plot of a Cold War spy novel. Today, we know that this idea was not so far-fetched after all. A small team of analysts, led by Clint Watts, saw the writing on the wall in 2014, and sounded the warning bells that there was a massive Russian Cyberwarfare propaganda operation underway that sought to exploit American free speech on social media with the goal of undermining American Democracy. No one listened. How did intelligence services miss this? What are the implications for the future of American Democracy? And how can we prevent these sorts of attacks in the future? Watts has since become the preeminent expert on the Russian propaganda campaign, testifying before Congress in March and April 2017.

Clint Watts is a Robert Fox Fellow for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Clint is a consultant and researcher modeling and forecasting threat actor behavior and developing countermeasures for disrupting and defeating state and non-state actors. As a consultant, Clint designs and implements customized training and research programs for military, intelligence and law enforcement organizations at the federal, state and local level. In the private sector, he helps financial institutions develop best practices in cybersecurity intelligence operations. His research predominantly focuses on terrorism forecasting and trends seeking to anticipate emerging extremist hotspots and anticipate appropriate counterterrorism responses. More recently, Clint used modeling to outline Russian influence operations via social media and the Kremlin’s return to Active Measures.

Before becoming a consultant, Clint served as a U.S. Army infantry officer, an FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), as the Executive Officer of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC) and as a consultant to the FBI’s Counter Terrorism Division (CTD) and National Security Branch (NSB). Clint earned a B.S. from the United States Military Academy and an M.A. from Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Past speakers of the Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture:

2017: Jeffrey Toobin

2016: Cokie Roberts

2015: Ray Kurzweil

2014: Jose Antonio Vargas

2013: Ambassador Andrew Young

2012: Senator George J. Mitchell

2011: Dr. Robert Gates


Past speakers of the Public Policy Lecture Series:

2017: The Honorable Jane Swift

2016: Panel - Joe Thompson, Julia Bowen, Thomas Krens, Kathy Lloyd '13, Mitch and Seth Nash, Brad Svrluga

2015: Cheryl Jacques

2014: Gloria Steinem

2013: Irshad Manji

2012: Zainab Salbi

2010-2011: Vandana Shiva; James Carville and Mary Matalin

2009-2010: Paul Rusesabagina; Lisa Cortes, Jonathan Kozol, and Carole Simpson

2008-2009: Bob Woodward; David Plouffe