In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell speaks with Dawn Meyerriecks, former deputy director for science and technology on the CIA, in regards to the position of technology in intelligence assortment and evaluation and how technological developments can improve, threaten or basically change the work of nationwide safety. Meyerriecks discusses how the CIA has traditionally approached the incorporation of latest applied sciences into its tradecraft and how the company is adapting to fast-moving modifications at present. She additionally discusses how the CIA is contending with the phenomenon of ubiquitous technical surveillance, which has threatened its human intelligence assortment mission. 


  • The stakes of getting technology proper at CIA: “I think one of the differences is, if somebody misses an earnings call, there are repercussions for that, right, commercially. On the flip side, if we mess up an operation, people can die. So I think the stakes are slightly different and I’m not trying to overstate for dramatic effect. I mean, obviously, if you’re doing airplane controls, lots of people could die with that. But my sense, in terms of the businesses that I’ve been associated with, is that, generally, unless it’s a safety of life sort of thing, you can make those mistakes. We have less margin in terms of what we have to do right and get right.” 
  • Challenge of ubiquitous technical surveillance: “For folks that are in the HUMINT business, that makes it really, really hard to conduct any sort of clandestine operation, as you might imagine. So the consequences of us not understanding the operating environment that we are in and that we will face in the future -because I see no indication that people are going to suddenly say, ‘I’ll give up convenience for privacy’ – means that we have to be on top of this. We have to understand that social media platforms maintain tens of thousands of attributes to ascertain that this account is real and that this person is real. We have to be, as I talked about previously, ahead of this, anticipatory, so that we can continue to bring the unique insights.”  
  • Embracing the technology in intelligence: “I think that we have an opportunity to embrace technology as key to our future, as something that, if we don’t embrace it, is going to be existential in terms of mission. We just have to, we need to embrace it. We can’t keep ignoring it or delegating it to the smart engineer who can’t conduct a recruiting session to save their lives but actually knows a lot about 5G or whatever the thing is. It’s time. It’s just time for the organization to embrace it and respect the expertise of others, right?   
  • I looked at one of my buddies once that headed up the Directorate of Operations and said ‘I couldn’t possibly convince somebody to commit treason,’ right? But on the other hand, I spent 40 years understanding communications equipment. So if we both respect and embrace each other’s expertise, there is nothing that this organization cannot do.”

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Dawn Meyerriecks, former deputy CIA director for science and technology

through LinkedIn

Intelligence Matters — Dawn Meyerriecks

Producer: Olivia Gazis

MICHAEL MORELL: Dawn, welcome to our present. Welcome to Intelligence Matters. It’s an honor to have you ever with us.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Thank you a lot for inviting me. I’m actually excited in regards to the dialog and simply speaking to you, Michael, is all the time enjoyable.

MICHAEL MORELL: So tons to speak about. I actually need to unpack the problem of technology and nationwide safety, significantly with regard to intelligence. But earlier than we get into that, I need to ask a bit bit about you and your profession. I believe our listeners would love to listen to the story about how you bought out of your faculty training to the pinnacle of science and technology on the Central Intelligence Agency. What’s that story in type of a condensed type?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: You really have been a part of the interview staff that introduced me into the company. So you know the way that story ends or no less than the way it began.

I grew up in western Pennsylvania, went to a fantastic faculty undergraduate, Carnegie Mellon. Double majored in enterprise and then headed for the West Coast and labored in aerospace for plenty of years. TRW, now a part of Northrop Grumman, and then Jet Propulsion Labs, which is a good place to be a younger engineer.
And whereas I used to be there, curiously sufficient, they bought an enormous tactical intel contract award as a result of they determined that if they might talk with sensors distributed throughout the galaxy, then maybe they might additionally assist make Army, Air Force Intel work in a tactical setting.

So I actually bought uncovered to the mission at a really, very early level in my profession. I simply completed my grasp’s diploma and I went to JPL and I believed I’d be working on area stuff. But no, I used to be working on tactical intel programs for the Army and the Air Force.

So from there, I labored for a program supervisor on the Army facet that requested if I may come again and assist unscramble what was the outdated worldwide army command and management system, which reveals you ways outdated I’m, and assist them get up the worldwide command and management programs. So that is how I ended up again on the East Coast.

Fabulous expertise. And I used to be working for an admiral; hair on hearth, loopy, inventive. And he mentioned, ‘Why do not you cease form of complaining about authorities and come into authorities?’ So that is how I ended up at, first, the Army as an IPA, inter-governmental personnel project, and then ended up at DISA as their chief technology officer, was my last position. But working their engineering group and placing in, serving to put it within the first fiber spine for the DOD, the worldwide command and management system, international fight help, actually making the most of high-capacity bandwidth. Even to the tactical edge, so as to allow situational consciousness.

And the story I like to inform – there’s a few tales, if I would inform about that. The first one is that, yeah, in Desert Storm I, there was a lot visitors — we name it cable visitors at present, however there was a lot visitors on the plane carriers that they have been really pushing it into the water so as to make room for the subsequent day’s set of cables.

And we can’t go into the results of doing that from an ecology perspective, however that is the place they have been as a result of whilst huge as an plane provider, as that they had a lot paper that it was, they needed to maintain eliminating it so as to get the subsequent day’s visitors in.

So the objective for Desert Storm II was to place that operational stuff up on a display screen and plot it robotically, versus studying via a bunch of message visitors that was all the time outdated and providing you with yesterday’s situational consciousness and the place adversaries have been stationed.

So we set about to automate that and did a very fabulous job. It was a big staff, it was a joint staff. But in the middle of that, I bought to fulfill Keith Alexander, who’s the J2 at CENTCOM on the time. And I used to be supporting J3, the ops people, proper? And I did not actually have a constitution to do the intel facet, however we actually wished entry to the army intelligence database as a result of that had the, so far as we may inform, the precise order of battle. And so we effected a commerce that I bought him functionality and he bought me entry to knowledge. And in the middle of one in all my visits there to see the way it was going, he and his employees briefed me on what that they had executed on a C-130 gunship that was supporting some work in Afghanistan and was going via a specific go to get there.

And my brother spent 24 years within the Air Force, gunship pilot, and he was the squadron commander in-country on the time. So it was a kind of seminal moments in sports activities the place I really noticed the outcomes and it mattered very deeply to me that we had good situational consciousness and that the intel group was engaged as a result of that they had surface-to-air missiles that they meant to make use of, and they waved them off and despatched them a distinct route. So it was both my child brother or anyone he was accountable for that they saved that day. So this mission may be very compelling to me.

From there, I really went off and ran product technology at AOL. I bought to the primary milestone in DOD and determined that life was too brief, it could take too lengthy to get that system out. So I went to AOL and ran product technology as a result of that they had purchased Netscape and I bought to know them via that Netscape purchase as a result of they ended up shopping for Netscape.

And Denny Blair referred to as me again and mentioned, ‘Would you come run acquisition for me?’ when he was the DNI. And I advised him he was one of many few folks that will really make that sale. So I went to ODNI I and met Glenn Gaffney, and I discovered my folks within the CIA. And lengthy story brief, I ended up interviewing with you and John – I do not know if you happen to keep in mind that or not.

MICHAEL MORELL: I do. I do. Absolutely.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Well, I simply bear in mind John saying to me – and I believe he was making an attempt to see how I reacted to stress – he mentioned, ‘Apparently, you’ll be able to’t maintain a job.’ And that was his first query. And I mentioned, ‘No, that is how I take into consideration myself,’ really, I inform people who. And it is rather more, I all the time seemed for nice mission with nice groups. That was all the time extra compelling to me than the rest. And it actually wasn’t, you already know, coming from AOL again into authorities actually wasn’t in regards to the financial rewards, however a quarterly earnings name versus, you already know, saving lives was simply – you’ll be able to’t equate the 2. So I used to be privileged. I discovered CIA very late in my profession. I beloved the place. I want I’d discovered y’all earlier, however I’m glad I bought there.

MICHAEL MORELL: And Dawn, any recommendation for a youngster that is listening who would love to finish up working at CIA within the Science and Technology Directorate? What ought to they research? What form of experiences ought to they give the impression of being to have beneath their belt?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yes, positive. Well, clearly laborious engineering, science, we do quite a lot of hiring there. Look at our summer season intern applications. That is our lifeblood. We get folks in for months in the summertime with clearances and put them to work on actual issues immediately. And that offers you a style of what is out there.
But I’d additionally say to those who are artists and others: we rent puppeteers, we rent make-up artists, all of these types of issues. So it is not simply science and and laborious engineering, it is also the creatives that we’re very desirous about as effectively for disguise functions and an entire bunch of different issues. So do not assume that it is solely people who have four-year educations. We actively recruit good artists in numerous fields as a result of it is actually vital to what we do as effectively.

MICHAEL MORELL: I believe that is so cool. So Dawn, I need to form of get the technology right here. People are fond of claiming that, you already know, technology is critically vital to the critically vital to CIA. But I’d argue, and I’d assume you’d agree, that it is all the time been critically vital to the company and to the IC.
And I’m questioning how you’d describe what’s totally different in regards to the significance of technology at present in comparison with earlier occasions within the IC within the company’s historical past? And are there classes to be realized from how we did tech within the earliest years of, say, the Cold War and how we have to do tech at present? How do you concentrate on the arc of technology and the way it’s modified over time?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yeah, that is a very, actually good query. And in some locations, it is again to the long run. But I believe one of many huge variations between earlier than and now’s the speed of change.

When I’ve spoken about CORONA, the primary photographic functionality from area, and the historical past there’s that we had quite a lot of misses, like 20-plus misses earlier than we really bought it proper. And to begin with, that form of failure degree would in all probability get a program killed, will surely get a program killed at present, however we simply would not have that form of lead time when you began to show that, you had a functionality that — no person would stand for the quantity of lag time between the beginning of this system and the start of success.

And if you concentrate on the life cycle of computer systems again within the day, versus cell telephones at present, it is simply actually amplified how briskly it’s important to go and how anticipatory that you must be to remain related. So I believe that is one of many huge differentiators.

The different factor I believe that may be a huge differentiator between earlier than and now, is we function in seams; the S&T does, the group does, we create alternatives to gather intelligence, whether or not that is people or technical. And as we have uncovered these issues, both as a result of folks noticed or they discovered it needed to work that approach as a result of in any other case there is no clarification, these seams have closed as a result of they find yourself being very commercially viable.
So I’ll decide on issues like relational databases or unstructured databases. All of that technology and most of the founders for that technology developed it as a result of they have been, within the company, uncovered to our drawback set, and have been good technologists and mentioned, ‘Hey, here is what we bought to give you,’ and subsequent turns into actually billion- or trillion-dollar industries.

We have an extended, lengthy monitor report of that form of innovation. And that the cycle time on that has additionally gotten shorter. But I additionally assume we have skilled people who these seams really characterize enterprise alternatives. And so, you already know, a few of my associates who’re very profitable enterprise capitalists recruit folks like us and additionally gentle people exactly for that motive is as a result of we see markets and we do not give it some thought that approach, however we see alternatives that flip into huge markets that may be monetized and really change requirements of dwelling all over the world.

And I believe that is a component that we do not take into consideration fairly often within the company. But, you already know, we have numerous tales in regards to the insectothopter, that was the primary UAV, proper? Didn’t really ever use it operationally, however that was 30 years earlier than anyone talked about it.

MICHAEL MORELL: Dawn, wanting again on the historical past, I’m questioning if there’s one thing to be realized about how carefully the personal sector and the federal government labored collectively in these early days of the Cold War and how that compares to the place we’re at present. How do you concentrate on that?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yeah, that is a very good statement. So we have all the time had relationships with industrial entities for a wide range of causes that I need not reacquaint folks with, I do not assume. But I believe we had actually shut ones, based mostly on the historical past that I’ve checked out, so as to achieve success in World War II and that endured as a result of the identical folks have been round for post-World War II.

I believe there’s a lot alternative – and significantly from the angle that I carry – for us to reestablish very shut relationships. And I’m so glad you raised this, as a result of that is one in all my pet rocks that I’m going to pursue for the remainder of my skilled profession, nonetheless lengthy that’s, is leveraging the present public-private partnerships that we now have and wanting for alternatives to create formal or casual public personal partnerships with communities that do not know a lot about us, however may, and would, I believe, be excited to work with us to take away the mystique.
You know, there’s a fantastic quote: ‘We need to maintain secrets and techniques, however we do not should be mysterious about that,’ and actually open up these dialogues as a result of, as you already know, Michael, there is a ton of capital on the market wanting for good concepts to put money into. And we’re thought innovators par excellence and undergo the federal price range course of, which is nice, besides that if you happen to want one thing in two months versus two years, you have bought a supply that internally, so that you’re turning one thing off operationally so as to tackle a brand new drawback. And that begins to get at the moment change that we talked about earlier that it actually is not responsive, given the sorts of calls for which might be put on the group and which might be addressable via technology.

So I believe determining how we will accomplice with people who’re wanting for modern concepts vis-a-vis technology with our innovators, of which there are a plethora, represents actual alternative, and I believe locations like In-Q-Tel and CIA Labs and IARPA are a down fee on what could be potential if we open up the aperture.

MICHAEL MORELL: I need to ask you two key questions right here, what does getting technology proper at CIA appear like and what does CIA need to do to get there?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: So getting technology proper at CIA, I do not assume differs all that a lot from industrial in a single sense, and that’s good industrial technologists, good CIA technologists anticipate what is going on to be wanted operationally and environmentally and do not wait for the necessities to point out up, as a result of in any other case you not are aggressive. So I believe that is one of many comparable options.

And for instance, we began doing investments in what’s now referred to as ‘ubiquitous technical surveillance.’ But on the time, there was an enormous, you already know, everyone talked about ‘Internet of Things.’ And I did an Aspen interview that they talked about what I misplaced sleep over and I mentioned, ‘Well, the Internet of Things.’

So we began doing investments in 2016, and it took two years for one in all our operations officers to say, ‘You know, I’m having this drawback.’ It was a tough goal nation. ‘I’m having this drawback. Is there something that you may carry to bear?’ And I mentioned, ‘Oh, thank goodness we have been ready for you. And sure, here is what we now have.’
And he checked out me and mentioned, ‘This is the quickest I’ve ever seen headquarters reply to a request from the sphere.’ And I mentioned, ‘We’ve been ready for anyone to say, “I can’t do this anymore. You need to enable a different way to get this operation done.”‘

That’s us on an excellent day. I believe one of many variations is, if anyone misses an earnings name, they’re repercussions for that, proper commercially. On the flip facet, if we mess up an operation, folks can die. So I believe the stakes are barely totally different and I’m not making an attempt to overstate for dramatic impact. I imply, clearly, if you happen to’re doing airplane controls, numerous folks may die with that. But my sense, by way of the companies that I’ve been related to, is that, typically, until it is a security of life type of factor, you may make these errors. We have much less margin by way of what we now have to do proper and get proper.

MICHAEL MORELL: So Dawn, we’re speaking about what does getting technology proper appear like. And I additionally requested, how can we get there? And I’m questioning to what extent the reply to that ‘how can we get there’ query is cultural versus technology? Is the obstacle tradition versus the rest?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yes, I believe we have to take a look at a few issues. One is I believe I’m an attention-grabbing poster little one by way of my historical past and not rising up on the CIA as a technologist, however rising up as a technologist that pursued nice mission. And if you happen to have a look at the subsequent era of technologists, I believe there’s a way more of an curiosity in doing social good, which is in our favor. But there’s additionally utilizing the most recent and biggest stuff, which mitigates in some instances how they really feel about staying.

I’ve mentored loads inside. I’ve had plenty of people come to me and say, ‘I need to maintain my technical expertise, however the instruments aren’t right here but. So I really feel like I would like to depart in order that I can keep viable from a technical perspective.’ So that is an enormous drawback.

I additionally assume that there is a totally different sensibility in that era – and I’ve 4 boys, so I dwell with this by way of, if I do not get to do the most recent and biggest cool stuff in pursuit of excellent mission, then I can go someplace the place I can – and that I believe we now have to get loads higher at accepting from a few views.

One is, we now have to have the ability to embrace modifications in technology a lot quicker than we now have previously. See my former feedback about totally different relationships with business. But we additionally need to be snug culturally with the truth that individuals are going to return and go and as a substitute of treating them like they’re useless to us as a result of they’ve chosen to depart, be completely satisfied for them that they are buying new talent units and staying present in order that they really feel, as soon as they’ve achieved no matter they’ve got down to do, they do not really feel humorous coming again or re-contacting folks.
One good younger man that I mentored determined life could be higher or someplace else. He was again in two years as a result of we have been good to him and stored the channel open whereas he was off doing the factor that he felt like he wanted to do. And the excellent news is, he realized himself, ‘T=Yeah, the cash was higher. But the achievement right here is a lot extra vital,’ that he got here again and benefited. He thinks he is a greater worker and we now have anyone that I believe will likely be with us for the long run now.

But that is one thing we’re not typically snug with. Most people begin on the company and develop up there. And so it is uncommon for folks to try this.

MICHAEL MORELL: You talked about, Dawn, ubiquitous technical surveillance. Maybe you’ll be able to clarify to people what meaning. And you additionally talked about ‘Internet of Things.’ And I’m questioning, on this dialog we’re having about technology at CIA, what the results are of us not getting it proper? What the results are of us failing to get this proper – it is a dialog you and I’ve had. How do you form of take into consideration that?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yeah. So I imply, if you concentrate on a monitored life, and for significantly a few of us of my era discover it a bit ‘Big Brother-ish,’ however I’ll return to my boys and their wives. They think about this service-oriented, proper? So if anyone walks as much as you whenever you’re within the flower division and – I’ll simply make this up – and say, ‘Hey, I do know that you simply like sunflowers. We have some within the again, can I get some for you?’ I believe that is form of bizarre. My children assume that is fabulous service, proper?

So shopping for patterns, if you concentrate on, if you happen to’ve bought any of the gadgets, Nest or any of the good gadgets in your house, your mobile phone is a sign of the place you might be with fairly excessive constancy more often than not, until you’re employed for the intelligence group.

The metropolis of London is well-known for having, you already know, 14 cameras per individual or some loopy statistic. So you actually – and for most individuals, that is thought of a, ‘Oh look. They despatched me the coupon that I wanted for Baskin-Robbins ice cream whereas my child’s within the automobile. Isn’t that nice?’ It’s about comfort and one of many issues we realized once I ran product for AOL is that for a $10 pizza coupon, folks gives you any info that you simply ask for.

So – as a result of that is like, ‘Hey, I can get higher service, I can get higher advertisements,’ you already know, ‘I do not need to see that advert about that form of treatment, however hey, I’m actually on this product over right here.’ So folks view it as a, it makes life simpler, and typically it does.

For people which might be within the HUMINT enterprise, that makes it actually, actually laborious to conduct any type of clandestine operation, as you may think. So the results of us not understanding the working setting that we’re in and that we’ll face sooner or later -because I see no indication that individuals are going to all of the sudden say, ‘I’ll hand over comfort for privateness’ – implies that we now have to be on high of this. We have to grasp that social media platforms keep tens of hundreds of attributes to establish that this account is actual and that this individual is actual. We need to be, as I talked about beforehand, forward of this, anticipatory, in order that we will proceed to carry the distinctive insights.

And Michael, you already know this in addition to I, what we carry is totally distinctive and completely important to finest inform policymakers. So it’s completely important that we work out how to do that and keep our relevancy and our edge.
I imply, I’d say – I do not know if you happen to would agree – I’d say that is existential for the HUMINT enterprise, if we do not get this proper.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: That’s completely right

MICHAEL MORELL: Dawn, the modifications that Director Burns introduced a number of months in the past – many of the media focus was on the brand new China Mission Center, however I really thought many of the modifications in quantity, and a very powerful ones, have been associated to technology, and you really led that assessment group for the director.
And I’m questioning if you happen to may speak in regards to the three key items of the tech facet of it and how they might assist. And by the three, I imply, the creation of the place of the Chief Technology Officer, the creation of the Technology Mission Center and the creation of a CIA Technology Fellows program. Can you say a number of phrases about these?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yes, completely. So I need to simply say that Bill Burns, from the second we met, he checked out me and mentioned, ‘Well, after all, CIA is a technology group.’ And I smiled at him and he mentioned, ‘What, do I not have that proper?’ And I mentioned, ‘No, nevertheless it’s so good to listen to you say that.’ I felt like, ‘OK, right here we go.’
So I used to be delighted to steer the tech thrust, and we had a very – and thanks for being a mentor and a confidant in that course of. We had a very nice staff and bought actually helpful suggestions.

And to your level, I believe the company, a part of what was signaled in what Bill is saying is, ‘I need to play tall ball relating to technology and being overt with respect to the import and impression it has at CIA, but in addition on a nationwide degree.’ And so I believe, to begin with the Transformational Technology Mission Center, it was an acknowledgement that we now have a task to play, we, the company, have a task to play in informing coverage makers vis-a-vis anticipatory intelligence with respect to technology traits that might undermine nationwide safety in addition to nationwide financial safety.

And I believe that is an enormous piece of what Bill is asking, and the nation, really, is asking us to step into. And as you already know, we now have financial analysts and we now have technical analysts which have very, very deep experience. I do not assume what we have executed heretofore is put that along with, what are the implications for provide chain writ massive? – for instance, proper, since that is a subject of dialog. And an enormous piece of what the infrastructure invoice, candidly, in my thoughts was about was addressing the locations the place we, for numerous causes, let our capabilities transfer offshore, maybe to locations that we won’t rely on if push involves shove. And that maybe that wasn’t the absolute best technique, significantly with hindsight being 20/20.

So I believe that is actually what he is doing with the Transformational Technology Mission Center. And I believe it is a new problem that I’m actually excited that the company is entering into as a result of I believe we now have all of the requisite capabilities to handle that.

MICHAEL MORELL: Dawn, can we simply return to the Mission Centers simply for a second. One of the massive variations, I believe, is that our technical folks, you already know, they’re incredible. But traditionally, they’ve centered on international weapons programs, and we’ll ask them to proceed to try this. But we’re now going to ask them to focus on international civilian applied sciences that might undermine the United States in some vital approach going ahead. So it is virtually a sea change.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Yes, completely. And I’ll let you know, that is it is cultural in addition to the rest, as a result of then we now have to be very cautious that we do not cross strains, as you already know, with respect to U.S. business and issues like that.
And I believe that is been partly why we stayed so distant from that dialog previously. So once more, it is not a scarcity of expertise in my thoughts. It’s a cultural, and redefining what — we stayed away from these boundaries previously. Now we’ll need to discover the place these boundaries are.


DAWN MEYERRIECKS: So I believe the CTO position is actually to be the technical adviser on to the DCIA and that I believe that is good as a result of presently, and you already know this effectively, once I use that situation of, if we have to do a speedy response to one thing, then it has to return out of what is going on on at present. And no person appears on the technology -we tried, I imply, I labored with my friends once I was there to strive and say, ‘We want, you already know -it’s virtually just like the extra triangle, to make use of a nasty analogy. But: do we’d like extra cybersecurity or do we’d like extra technical assortment, proper? And there’s no person who actually has form of the hen’s eye view.

I may offer you chapter and verse on sure forms of technical assortment, however I do not pay quite a lot of consideration to our infrastructure, cyber safety; I simply use it. And so having these conversations in a significant approach are actually, actually troublesome.

So the director’s expectation is that the CTO will set up a technical technique and arbitrate these sorts of conversations and then characterize that externally very vociferously and with the industrial acumen to assist drive extra of those public-private partnerships that we have talked about a number of occasions.

So the expectation is that that particular person could have enterprise acumen, perceive market verticals from a enterprise perspective and then translate that again into the company by way of alternatives to execute the technical technique that collectively we are going to lay out and conform to.

And a big piece of the company’s assets go to technology, each folks and {dollars}. So having anyone that’s chartered to take a look at that comprehensively – as a result of, you already know, you have been there, proper? How a lot time does the CIA or the DDCIA need to do these form of technology trades?

So the thought is to carry a senior in and, all the time very supportive proper? But it was like, ‘I actually need you to concentrate to this as a result of I would like you to make a telephone name, proper?’ That was the engagement mannequin.
And I believe what the director is saying is that that may’t stand, significantly with the emphasis on technology vis-a-vis nationwide safety and nationwide financial safety. So that is what I believe he is wanting for there, and I’m actually enthusiastic about that and the potential for the group.

So the CIA tech fellows, I believe, is once more, it is again to this public-private partnership. What alternatives are there, what number of alternatives may we create for our people to exit? Or for consultants to return in and achieve an appreciation for what we do, how we do it and our drawback set that then they’ll carry their networks into the conversations now and into the long run. And I believe it really works each instructions.

So we have been working on externships once I was there and I believe the CIA tech fellows is this concept that you may herald vital experience, expose them to our issues, and then carry their networks into solutioning these now and effectively into the long run. To return: they need to maintain our secrets and techniques, however we do not have to be mysterious about what we’d like.

MICHAEL MORELL: And I guess you that a few of them who come will find yourself staying as a result of the mission is so compelling.

Is your sense, Dawn, that with the modifications the director has made right here, that we’re on the precise highway to attending to the place we should be?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: It is, it’s. I believe there was quite a lot of good work executed. I’m simply actually proud that the messaging has gotten actually sturdy inside in regards to the impression of technology and its significance.

We did the UTS Tradecraft Center whereas I used to be nonetheless there, which was a brand new partnership between the directorates that actually centered on this ubiquitous technical surveillance and the existential menace to HUMINT operations.
So we have been taking the precise steps, however I’m undecided that it ever permeated the group writ massive. And I believe that the very clear messaging that’s popping out now in regards to the institution of a mission middle, the reporting chain for the CTO, the seriousness about bringing exterior expertise in the place it is smart for a wide range of causes — I believe it is a actually tight package deal that permits the company to play tall ball versus small ball with respect to technology. And it is vital.

MICHAEL MORELL: So having mentioned that, Dawn, if you happen to have been going to depart the group with one message about technology going ahead and ensuring that we get this proper, what wouldn’t it be? I do know that is a troublesome query.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: Maybe it is simply to embrace it. And by that – and you already know this in regards to the group, Michael. So once we get the bit in our mouth, we execute the heck out of issues. I imply, you already know, ‘Katie bar the door.’ We are so inventive. We are so modern. We are so dedicated. There’s there’s nothing that we won’t do.
And I believe that we now have a chance to embrace technology as key to our future as one thing that if we do not embrace it’ll be existential by way of mission. We simply need to, we have to embrace it. We cannot maintain ignoring it or delegating it to the good engineer who cannot conduct a recruiting session to avoid wasting their lives however really is aware of loads about 5G or regardless of the factor is. It’s time. It’s simply time for the group to embrace it and respect the experience of others, proper?

I checked out one in all my buddies as soon as that headed up the Directorate of Operations and mentioned ‘I could not probably persuade anyone to commit treason,’ proper? But on the opposite hand, I spent 40 years understanding communications tools. So if we each respect and embrace one another’s experience, there’s nothing that this group can not do.

MICHAEL MORELL: Yeah. One of the issues that all the time struck me in regards to the place is that if you happen to confirmed folks how one thing new would add to mission, they might line up in a nanosecond.
And I believe as soon as we present them how vital technology is to getting the mission executed, I believe change goes to be fairly simple. Just my sense.

Dawn, let me ask you two last questions right here. The first is about tech firms. I’m simply questioning if a CEO of a tech firm is listening to the podcast, and if that individual asks, ‘Look, if I’ve an providing, a product or a service that I believe CIA is likely to be desirous about,’ how would that individual get in entrance of the precise folks on the company? How does that occur or how ought to it occur if it is not occurring the best way it ought to?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: I want I may say there is a one-stop store and I hate that the reply, I really feel like, is, ‘It relies upon.’ If it is a tech startup, for instance, if he is the CEO of a tech startup, why you would not have that dialog with In-Q-Tel proper out of the blocks could be, you already know, the query that I’d scratch my head about.

And I do not like that there is a Rolodex reply, nevertheless it’s a big, complicated paperwork. It’s no totally different than a, you already know, a GE or a Boeing or, by way of, it relies upon the place it will land finest.

And I’ll let you know additionally that if you happen to go to In-Q-Tel and it is not the precise place, they know the place to ship you inside. CIA Labs is one other place. They have a public internet presence. You can all the time ship them a be aware and they’ll join you with the precise set of individuals.

What I assume I’d say is, attain out. It’s a big group with a household really feel and individuals are prepared to attach you or get you to the precise place. So wherever you will discover a spot to return in, do it. If you are feeling such as you’ve bought one thing that may contribute to mission and then rely on the system inside to get you to the precise set of oldsters.
And it might take a time or two, however I’d submit that is no totally different than going to, you already know, a large-scale company to get to the parents which might be really desirous about that technology.

Not a really passable reply, however probably the most trustworthy one I can consider.


No, I believe it is a good reply, and I believe it offers folks precise, you already know, very specifics of what to do. So I believe it is good.

Last query: what would your pitch be to the younger scientists and engineers on the market within the fields that you simply want, who’re interested by what to do with their profession? What’s your pitch for them to check out the CIA?

DAWN MEYERRIECKS: So if you wish to take your technical abilities that you have acquired and apply it to mission that issues on a world scale, we’re the one recreation on the town.

I’ll simply, I will likely be that daring and state that. It’s attention-grabbing and one of many causes I really feel that approach – I did, I bought to fulfill Jeff Bezos and we chatted a bit bit and he mentioned, ‘Well, actually, you have got a a lot cooler job than I do.’ And I mentioned, ‘Yes, I do.’

So one factor we may agree on – it’s the finest. My job, if you happen to’re a technologist, finest gig on the planet, bar none. And if you wish to be a part of that scope of mission, you already know, that is the chance that the company presents.
And for most of our younger folks: become involved in the summertime internship program as a result of you’ll be able to ‘strive before you purchase,’ so to talk. And we now have so many people that, as soon as they’re there — I talked to a few of our interns earlier than I left this summer season. We had folks which have been there seven, eight years as a result of they’ve gone on to get graduate and post-graduate levels. And they’re that dedicated to us and they’ll be there, you already know, for their careers.

And so, get a style. You won’t discover something prefer it by way of visceral engineering satisfaction. And I’ve been a bunch of locations, so I do know whereof I converse.