Former FBI Director Louis Freeh headlines Mercyhurst GIF in Ireland

FBI Director Louis Freeh

Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI who was hired by Penn State University trustees to investigate one of college sports' biggest scandals, will deliver the keynote address at Mercyhurst University’s Global Intelligence Forum (GIF), The Dungarvan Conference, July 7-10 in Dungarvan, Ireland.

Sponsored by the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University, the third biennial conference comes on the heels of highly successful summits that welcomed prominent intelligence leaders like Pa. Gov. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; and former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden.

Panelists for this year’s forum – “Preparing Intelligence Analysts for the 21st Century” – will address how leaders can effectively establish intelligence practices to enhance decision-making in a world marked by intensifying globalization and widespread influences of technology.

An estimated 180 panelists and delegates – the largest group to date – are expected to attend, said James Breckenridge, Ph.D., executive director of the Institute for Intelligence Studies.

“Intelligence is a global enterprise and as the largest civilian program of its kind, Mercyhurst’s intelligence studies institute is pleased to be taking the lead in building a larger audience and broader discussion about the practice of intelligence across all disciplines,” Breckenridge said.

He said he is gratified to once again have buy-in from key intelligence leaders like Louis Freeh. Freeh is chairman of Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC and also serves as senior managing partner of the Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan law firm. He was director of the FBI for eight years under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. He also served as a federal judge, an assistant United States attorney and an FBI agent.

Freeh became a household name in November 2011 when he was retained by the Penn State Board of Trustees to conduct the independent investigation into the university’s actions surrounding the child abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky. But, well before that, he was known for exemplary accomplishments, twice earning the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the second highest annual honor given by the Department of Justice.

Freeh joined the FBI as a Special Agent in 1975, working assignments in the New York field office and later transferring to headquarters in Washington, D.C. In 1981, he joined the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Subsequently, he held positions there as chief of the Organized Crime Unit, Deputy U.S. Attorney and Associate U.S. Attorney.

During that time, Freeh was the lead prosecutor in the "Pizza Connection" case, the largest and most complex investigation ever undertaken at the time by the United States government. The case involved an extensive drug-trafficking operation in the U.S. by Sicilian organized crime members who used pizza parlors as fronts. Following the investigation, Freeh served as the federal government's principal courtroom attorney in the 14-month trial and won the conviction of 16 of 17 co-defendants.

In July 1991, former President George Bush appointed Freeh as United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. While serving in this position he was nominated to be the director of the FBI by President Bill Clinton in 1993, a post he held for eight years.

Freeh was born in Jersey City, N.J., and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University. He received his J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law and an LL.M degree in criminal law from New York University School of Law. He was a first lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve.

He is married to Marilyn Coyle, a 1979 Mercyhurst graduate. They are the parents of six sons.

In addition to the Global Intelligence Forum, Mercyhurst is partnering with the Lockheed Martin Center for Security Analysis on a two-day invitation-only colloquium July 11-12 for intelligence training leaders from the European Union. The purpose is to identify future intelligence training needs of that community of intelligence professionals.

For more information on the forum and its offerings, please visit

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