The CIA analyst who helped discover the existence of the terrorist group al-Qaida and whose two decades of service helped engineer the elimination of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, will visit the University of Mississippi’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies Thursday.
Cynthia “Cindy” Storer’s visit will include her free, public address Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Turner Center Auditorium.
Storer said while many confuse the role of an analyst with an operations officer, she plans to paint a real-life portrait of her experience. An analyst pulls information from countless avenues, then applies analytical thinking to dissect and piece together information that aides in the strategic war against al-Qaida.
“It’s like someone hands you a bunch of car parts and asks you to figure out what the parts are for,” Storer said. “A CIA analyst takes the parts, starts building and determines that it’s a car.”
Carl Jensen, director of CISS, said the center routinely brings such speakers to campus so students can learn from the world’s leading intelligence professionals.
“We work hard to ensure that our students have the opportunity to work with outstanding analysts, such as Ms. Storer,” Jensen said.
Storer’s analytical work is showcased in the documentary “Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden.” The film, an authentic spy thriller, gives a behind-the-scenes look at a fascinating chapter in American history through former operatives, agents and analysts, including Storer. Parts of her persona and those of other CIA members were also used in Hollywood’s portrayal of the character Maya in the film “Zero Dark Thirty.”