Israel’s 9/11? The Hamas Terrorist Attacks and the Future of Mideast Security

October 12, 2023  |  5:15PM - 6:15PM
Robert B. Rowling Hall - Crum Auditorium

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, the Strauss-Clements Intelligence Studies Project, Clements Center for National Security, the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and the America in the World Consortium hosted “Israel’s 9/11? The Hamas Terrorist Attacks and the Future of Mideast Security” with Paul Edgar, Former Political Advisor for Israeli Affairs, Office of the United States Security Coordinator and Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security; Simone Ledeen, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East; and Steve Slick, Director of the Intelligence Studies Project and Professor of Public Policy Practice at The LBJ School of Public Affairs. Adam Klein, Director of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and Senior Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law, will moderate. For event photographs, click HERE. To listen to the audio, click HERE.


Paul Edgar is the Interim Executive Director of the William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin. He holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from UT and studies the historical origins of diplomacy, war, and strategy in pre-classical antiquity. Prior to beginning work on his PhD, Dr. Edgar had been an Olmsted Foundation Scholar at Tel Aviv University where he studied for his master’s degree, focusing on early Israelite and Jewish literature from the Iron Age through the Crusades. Before entering academia, Dr. Edgar served more than 22 years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army in conventional paratrooper and special operations units. In his final assignment for the Army, Dr. Edgar was the political advisor for Israeli affairs to the United States Security Coordinator in Jerusalem.

Simone Ledeen is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. Ms. Ledeen was responsible for U.S. Department of Defense Policy for Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Previously, she served as the Principal Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism. In this capacity, she provided oversight of the employment of special operations forces in counterterrorism, Military Information Support Operations, Information Operations, unconventional warfare, irregular warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counterproliferation, sensitive special operations and personnel recovery/hostage issues as specified by the Secretary of Defense. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Ledeen served as an Executive Director at Standard Chartered Bank where she led the successful launch of the bank’s multi-national financial crime compliance program in Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan. For over a decade, Ms. Ledeen served in various U.S. Government positions. From 2009 to 2010, Ms. Ledeen was the Senior U.S. Treasury Representative to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. She began her government career in 2003 as an Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance in Baghdad, where she served as part of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Stephen Slick is the Director of the Intelligence Studies Project, a joint partnership between the Clements Center for National Security and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He retired in 2014 after 28 years as a member of CIA’s clandestine service. Between 2005 and 2009, Mr. Slick served as a special assistant to the president and the Senior Director for Intelligence Programs and Reform on the staff of the National Security Council. He was previously the Director for Intelligence Programs at the NSC. While serving at the White House, Mr. Slick participated in efforts to restructure and reform the intelligence community informed by recommendations of the commissions charged with investigating the 9/11 attacks and the flawed pre-war analysis of Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs. These efforts included a series of executive orders on U.S. intelligence issued in August 2004, key provisions in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the administration’s responses to recommendations by the “WMD Commission,” as well as significant amendments to Executive Order 12333 that were approved by President George W. Bush in 2008.

Adam Klein is Director of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and Director of Strauss’ Program on Technology, Security, and Global Affairs. Mr. Klein also serves as a Senior Lecturer at the UT-Austin School of Law. Before joining the Strauss Center, Adam served as Chairman of the United States Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the independent, bipartisan federal agency responsible for overseeing counterterrorism programs at the NSA, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies. As the Board’s Senate-confirmed Chairman, he oversaw its oversight and advice engagements with other federal agencies, while also serving as the Board’s chief executive officer. Before entering government, Mr. Klein was the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a bipartisan national-security research institution in Washington, DC. There, his research focused on government surveillance, intelligence powers, and national security law. Previously, Mr. Klein practiced law at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP and served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. He has also worked on national-security policy at the RAND Corporation, the 9/11 Public Discourse Project (the non-profit successor to the 9/11 Commission), and in the U.S. Congress.