Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey wants funding of terrorists to stop

by | Aug 16, 2012 | What’s Happening

Monday, Sept. 10, 7 pm
When you pull into a gas station, turn the rear view mirror a bit to the left and you’ll be looking into the eyes of the person who’s funding the small, eight-year-old boys who are taught by radical Muslims to want to be suicide bombers.

“You’re looking at your own eyes when you answer that question—you’re the one who’s paying,” says R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1993–95). Woolsey uses the visual description to emphasize his assertion that America’s addiction to oil and dependence on the OPEC cartel to fuel that addiction affects the environment, military strategy and human rights.

The Community Relations Council presents “Energy in the 21st Century: Could Muir, Patton and Gandhi Agree on a Program?” featuring Woolsey at the Sandler Family Campus next month.

“There are a couple of main messages I’ll be talking about,” Woolsey says. “I think with respect to energy, first of all, there are huge problems—strategic and financial, as well as environmental and even medical. There are all sorts of reasons to get off oil and I’m in favor of all of them—whatever works to break OPEC’s cartel and move off of oil for transportation.

“A second major point, is that you can’t do it by just drilling for more oil in the west and you can’t do it just by achieving what some people call energy independence,” he says. “You’ve got to do to oil what electricity and refrigeration did to salt at the very end of the 19th century—they completely undermined salt’s position as a dominant commodity. You basically want to use alternatives [liquid fuels derived from natural gas, biofuels, some combination of both, and renewables] that do to oil what electricity and refrigeration did to salt.”

Currently the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Woolsey is a foreign policy specialist who served in the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Clinton administrations. A Rhodes Scholar, Woolsey received a law degree from Yale, and among many government appointments, he served as the General Counsel to the U.S. Senate committee on Armed Services from 1970–73 and as the Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977–79. Woolsey sits on, or chairs, a range of government, corporate and non-profit advisory boards, including the National Commission on Energy Policy.

CRC director Robin Mancoll heard Woolsey speak during a panel discussion last year and was impressed with the depth of his knowledge and the impact of his message.

“Jim Woolsey is an intelligent and charismatic speaker who really makes you stop and think,” says Mancoll. “We’re looking forward to having him share information and insights about our dependency on oil, its affect on the U.S. and Israel, and what we can do to change the situation.”

The motivation to move away from oil dependency has remained strong in Woolsey for almost 40 years, and is connected directly to Israel.

“I’ve been interested in this and worried about this since October of 1973—the Yom Kippur War and the oil cutoff by the Saudis and the gas lines—that really kind of got me onto it,” he recalls.

Woolsey’s interest and determination to try to change America’s thirst for oil grew even stronger about a decade ago, as he became more concerned about electrical security and climate change. He is now a prolific and passionate speaker on the topic.

The program is free and open to the community. RSVP required by Sept. 5; For questions about this program and other CRC initiatives, contact Robin Mancoll at

by Laine M. Rutherford