President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough reflects on Family, Values, Lessons learned and a Life in Public Service

In this week’s episode of Intelligence Matters, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough talks about his view of American exceptionalism in creating opportunities for its citizens, how his ideologies were deeply influenced by both his upbringing and travels, and what distinguishes President Barack Obama in his view from other government officials. In a wide-ranging interview with former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell, McDonough talks about being one of eleven children and the values he gained from being raised in a devout Catholic family in Stillwater, Minnesota.  After graduation from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota McDonough traveled extensively in South America, and describes the experiences that helped shape his worldview.. In 1996 he began his career in government as an aide on the Hill – he talks about the lessons learned and skills gained that led to his appointment the 26th White House Chief of Staff, succeeding Jack Lew at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term. Despite his meteoric rise in government, McDonough remains deeply humble and viewed his role in the White House, as having to tee up decisions for the President to make, a conduit emphasizing the value that he attached to that.