LinkedIn tracking pixel

In memory of Brian Kelley : The loss of a national treasure

Dear Friends of IWP,

It is with great sadness that I have to report to you the death of our colleague, Professor Brian Kelley.  He died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday at home in his sleep.  

Brian served for many years at IWP as a professor of counterintelligence, where he taught one of the most unique courses in the nation on counterintelligence case studies.  He had a distinguished career as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was involved in a number of historic espionage cases.  

Late in his career as a senior CIA official, Brian and his family suffered greatly, as he had been placed under suspicion for being a Soviet “mole” in our intelligence community who had compromised a vast number of our nation’s most sensitive secrets.

Fortunately, the CIA succeeded in recruiting an intelligence source in Russia who revealed who the real mole was: Robert Hanssen, who was subsequently arrested, convicted, and incarcerated.  The grace with which Brian handled this situation, and continued to serve his country in the absence of a formal apology, made Brian a walking lesson in forgiveness and leadership for anyone who knew him.  

Since those painful days, Brian taught here at IWP, sharing his extraordinary experience and wisdom with successive classes of IWP students.  As many of you know, the Institute has arguably the most serious counterintelligence studies program in America, and Brian’s role on the faculty was a central reason why this should have been so.  

Brian was one of the staunchest supporters of the IWP mission.  He was a patriot and a happy warrior, constantly dedicated not only to the education of his students, but to helping them launch their careers in positions that were fully commensurate with the advanced education that they had received from him and his fellow professors here at the Institute.  He initiated a pathbreaking program where strategically important intelligence contracting firms have hired IWP students as interns and as full time employees.  His program has set the standard for similar arrangements with other major contracting companies, whose services to the nation are every bit as strategic as work done within the various sensitive government agencies themselves. 

Brian was generous in his readiness to organize extracurricular lectures and to other special events.  He was an inspiring leader who brought an extraordinary esprit de corps to our community, for which I will be eternally grateful.  I know that, in the few hours since his death, many of our students and alumni have used such phrases as “an American hero,” “a true patriot,” “an incredible professor,” and “an inspiration” in describing Brian.  America has lost one of its greatest sons, but it is clear that Brian’s legacy will live on through his students and their continuing service to the nation. 

All of us at IWP extend his wife, Trish, his children, his grandchildren, and his longtime friends and colleagues our sincerest condolences.  If you would like to send a personal tribute or expression of sympathy, please send your thoughts to Kathy Carroll at:  

Funeral arrangements will be made known to the IWP community as soon as they become available.  

IWP will honor Brian’s memory on October 7 at the event he organized with Bryan Denson on“American Traitors: Fathers and Sons.”  I hope that you will join us.


John Lenczowski
Founder and President