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Overview:

The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board (PIAB) is a group of non-governmental appointees whose job is to evaluate the quality and adequacy of American foreign intelligence efforts and reports their findings to the President. The PIAB communicates with department heads, conducts onsite inspections and accesses classified information in order to find shortcomings in the collection, analysis and reporting of intelligence by federal agencies. Historically, the board has been used substantially by some Presidents (John Kennedy) and very little or not at all by others (George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter). During the current administration of George W. Bush, the board was largely ignored during the President’s first term but was used more in his second term. In 2008, President Bush made substantial changes to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (formerly known as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) and the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB), which, under Bush, became something of a paper tiger as a result of an executive order. The composition of the PIAB also came under attack because of connections between members and President Bush and the business dealings of chairpersons. In his first year in office, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that restored the authority of the IOB, requiring it to inform the attorney general of any perceived illegal activity on the part of a U.S. intelligence agency.

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History:

The idea for creating a presidential body on intelligence matters started with the 1955 Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government which recommended that the President appoint a committee of knowledgeable private citizens to examine and report to him periodically on American foreign intelligence efforts. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower formed the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities. Eisenhower’s successor, President John F. Kennedy, changed the name to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).

 

In the mid 1970s, President Gerald Ford created the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) following investigations by Congress, such as the Church Committee, into domestic spying, assassination operations, and other abuses by intelligence agencies. The IOB’s job was to review intelligence operations to ensure that U.S. laws were not violated in the course of clandestine work by American agents.

 

During the administration of Jimmy Carter, the PFIAB was not utilized, making Carter the only President not to rely on this body of experts. He abolished the board because he did not consider its reviews any more rigorous than similar evaluations conducted by the National Security Council, the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the intelligence community itself. Carter did, however, retain the IOB to initiate inquires into covert operations.

 

President Ronald Reagan revived PFIAB, at first appointing 21 members. Then, in 1985, he dismissed half of the group because he felt the board was too cumbersome to operate at that size. Some critics have suggested that the real reason Reagan took this action was to limit any snooping by PFIAB members into the highly secret Iran-Contra operation.

 

Reagan’s successor, President George H. W. Bush, was said to have distrusted the PFIAB, going back to when he served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) under President Ford. Bush supposedly felt the board members were outsiders who second-guessed the DCI while reporting directly to the President. But instead of dismantling the board, as some expected, Bush reduced its membership from 15 to 6, and he did not rely upon it. 

 

In 1997, President Bill Clinton officially merged the PFIAB and IOB through Executive Order #12863, with the oversight board becoming a standing committee of PFIAB. The reorganization did not amount to much real change since members commonly served on both bodies. Clinton did call upon the PFIAB to analyze security threats in the Energy Department’s nuclear laboratories during the period of the infamous Wen Ho Lee scandal. From that episode, the PFIAB issued a report, “Science at its Best, Security at its Worst,” which suggested that China may have used information stolen by spies at American laboratories to enhance their nuclear weapons capability. The report also recommended substantial changes in the way the federal government operates and secures its nuclear weapons and other highly classified scientific facilities.

 

During the first administration of George W. Bush, the IOB investigated 13 cases involving FBI intelligence-gathering operations. It is unknown whether the IOB looked into other questionable intelligence operations, such as the warrantless eavesdropping conducted by the National Security Agency at the orders of the White House. It was made public, however, that the PFIAB reviewed the intelligence upon which the Bush administration relied in deciding to invade Iraq in 2003. Prior to the attack, the President cited in his State of the Union speech information about nuclear material that Iraq had supposedly acquired from Niger to help build weapons of mass destruction that proved to be false.

 

In December 2003, the board concluded that the White House made the assertion about the Niger uranium out of desperation to show that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had an active program to develop nuclear weapons. After reviewing the matter for several months, the PFIAB (which was chaired at that time by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft) determined that there was “no deliberate effort to fabricate” a story by the White House. Instead, the board believed the White House was so anxious “to grab onto something affirmative” about Hussein’s nuclear ambitions that it disregarded warnings from the intelligence community that the claim was questionable.

 

Five years later, President Bush shook up the PFIAB and IOB. In February 2008, he issued an executive order that terminated the IOB’s authority to oversee the general counsel and inspector general of each U.S. intelligence agency and erased the requirement that each inspector general file a report with the IOB every three months. The order also removed the IOB’s authority to refer a matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation and directed the IOB to notify the president of a problem only if other officials are not already “adequately” addressing that problem. In the opinion of some observers, the move essentially gutted the IOB (see Controversies).

 

The same directive changed the name of the PFIAB to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board.

 

In October 2009, President Barack Obama issued his own executive order that amended the Bush order, effectively restoring IOB’s authority.

 

SourceWatch profile of President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What it Does:

The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board (PIAB) provide advice to the President regarding the work of intelligence gathering operations in the U.S. government. The PIAB is charged with examining the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, intelligence analysis and estimates, counterintelligence efforts and other intelligence activities. The PIAB, through its Intelligence Oversight Board, also, theoretically, advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities.

 

Through meetings with intelligence leaders, substantive briefings and visits to intelligence installations, the PIAB seeks to identify deficiencies in the collection, analysis and reporting of intelligence. It also tries to eliminate unnecessary duplication and functional overlap between intelligence agencies, and it works to ensure that major programs are responsive to clearly perceived needs and that the technology employed represents the product of the best minds and technical capabilities available in the nation.

 

According to the White House, the PIAB is composed of members selected from among “distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity.” The board currently consists of the following members:

 

Chuck Hagel, co-chair (10/28/2009)

David Boren, co-chair (10/28/2009)

Roel Campos (12/23/2009)

Lee Hamilton (12/23/2009)

Rita Hauser (12/23/2009)

Paul Kaminski (12/23/2009)

Ellen Laipson (12/23/2009)

Les Lyles (12/23/2009)

Judith Miscik (12/23/2009)

Richard Danzig (12/1/2010)

Daniel Meltzer (12/1/2010)

Thomas Wheeler (4/17/2011)

Mona Sutphen (9/6/2011)

Phillip Zelikow (9/6/2011)

 

The White House has never publicly disclosed the identities of the members of the IOB. A lawsuit was filed in September 2011 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) of failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request that had been made in February, which sought information about the IOB appointments. A week later, in response to the lawsuit, the ODNI produced documents containing information on three PIAB members (Chuck Hagel, Lester Lyles, and David Boren), presumably implying that they are also IOB members. Their membership in the IOB, along with that of Daniel Meltzer, was subsequently acknowledged.

 

From the Web Site of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board

About the PIAB

Introduction to PIAB

Members

PIAB History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Does the Money Go:

USAspending.gov, the federal government Web site that provides information on contracts issued by Executive Branch agencies, does not list any information for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:

Intelligence Oversight Board Stripped of Powers

In February 2008, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that reorganized the functions of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board. In the case of the latter, the directive effectively stripped the IOB of much of its authority. The White House did not say why it was necessary to change the rules governing the board.

 

But critics say Bush’s order was consistent with a pattern of steps by the administration that have systematically scaled back Watergate-era intelligence reforms. “It’s quite clear that the Bush administration officials who were around in the 1970s are settling old scores now,” Tim Sparapani, then-senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, said at the time. “Here they are even preventing oversight within the executive branch. They have closed the books on the post-Watergate era.”

 

President Gerald Ford created the IOB following a 1975-76 investigation by Congress into domestic spying, assassination operations and other abuses by intelligence agencies. The probe prompted fierce battles between Congress and the Ford administration, whose top officials included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the current President’s father, George H. W. Bush.

 

Prior to the issuing of the executive order, the IOB was required to notify the President and the U.S. Attorney General whenever it learned of intelligence activity that might be “unlawful or contrary to executive order.” But Bush’s order deleted the board’s authority to refer matters to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, and the new order said the board should notify the president only if other officials are not already “adequately” addressing the problem.

 

Bush’s order also terminated the IOB’s authority to oversee each intelligence agency’s general counsel and inspector general, and it erased a requirement that each inspector general file a report with the board every three months. Under Bush’s dictum, only the agency directors could decide whether to report any potential lawbreaking to the panel, and they had no schedule for checking in.

 

Suzanne Spaulding, a former deputy counsel at the CIA who has worked as a congressional staff member on intelligence committees for members of both parties, said the order “really diminishe[d] the language that calls on the Intelligence Oversight Board to conduct independent inquiries,” leaving the panel as potentially little more than “paper pushers.”

 

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at both the CIA and the National Security Agency who is now the dean of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, said it was unwise for the Bush administration to undermine the Intelligence Oversight Board at the same time that the administration was pushing for fewer restrictions on its intelligence powers.

 

In October 2009, President Barack Obama reversed Bush’s order. With his own executive order, Obama restored OIB’s authority to tell the attorney general if it believes that a U.S. intelligence agency may have broken the law or committed intelligence-related violations. Former counsel Spaulding hailed the action: “Greater independence gives the board greater credibility, which is particularly important for oversight in an area so shrouded in secrecy,"

President weakens espionage oversight (by Charlie Savage, Boston Globe)

Obama Order Strengthens Spy Oversight (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

Oversight Board Fails to Catch Intelligence Violations

In October 2005, it was revealed that the FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some American residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight. In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years—including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved from New York to Detroit.

 

The revelations came to light following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which gained access to records from the FBI. The documents provided to EPIC focused on 13 cases from 2002 to 2004 that were referred to the Intelligence Oversight Board, which was supposed to examine violations of the laws and directives governing clandestine surveillance.

 

Case numbers on the documents indicated that a minimum of 287 potential violations were identified by the FBI during those three years, but the actual number is certainly higher because the records were incomplete.

FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations (by Dan Eggen, Washington Post)

 

 

Intelligence Board Chair Gains China Deal for Law Firm

In July 2005, it was reported that the chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, James C. Langdon Jr., had met the previous winter with investment bankers in China to help secure a lobbying deal for his law firm, Akin Gump, with a state-run Chinese energy firm seeking to buy the U.S. oil company Unocal Corp.

 

Langdon had been an important fundraiser for President Bush, raising more than $200,000 and earning the distinction of “Ranger” by the President’s campaign. As a member of the PIAB, Langdon enjoyed the highest security clearance and developed top-secret advisories and reports for the President, most of which are not even available to members of Congress.

 

In February 2005, the President had reappointed Langdon for another term as the board chair. But by the following year, Langdon stepped down and was replaced by Stephen Friedman.

Bush Adviser Helped Law Firm Land Job Lobbying for CNOOC (by Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)

 

Bush Cronies Dominate Intelligence Board

In 2005, Salon.com published a story that pointed out the personal and business connections of PFIAB members with President George W. Bush. The members included Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt, one of Bush’s biggest financial backers, and Cincinnati financier William DeWitt Jr., who backed Bush in all of his business deals going back to 1984, when DeWitt’s company, Spectrum 7, bailed out the faltering entity known as Bush Oil Co. Another appointee was former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a Bush confidant since his days in Midland, Texas.

 

Ray Close, a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired intelligence officers that has been critical of the Bush administration’s handling of intelligence matters, called some of the appointments “unbelievable.” Close, who worked for the CIA for 27 years as an Arabist, added, “I can’t imagine anyone who has the president’s interest in mind allowing him to do this. With the notable exception of Lee Hamilton, most of the choices look very weak, and several scream of cronyism.”

 

Hamilton was a former Democratic congressman from Indiana who chaired the House Foreign Affairs committee.

Top-secret cronies (by Robert Bryce, Salon.com)

 

 

White House Withholds Names of PIAB Members

In 2002, The Nation first reported that the Bush White House was refusing to disclose the names of those serving on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. A reporter was told “that information is provided only on a need-to-know basis,” said Roosevelt Roy, the board’s administrative assistant. The announcement ran contrary to previous practices by U.S. presidents, such as Bill Clinton, who made the names of members available to the public via the board’s Web site.

 

Two days after the Nation story appeared, the board’s executive director apologized to the reporter, saying, “You got some bad information,” and that Roy had “grossly misspoken” about the membership list. As it turned out, the names of the board members had been released through a press release in 2001.

Who's On PFIAB-A Bush Secret...Or Not? UPDATED (by David Corn, The Nation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suggested Reforms:

Experts Urge Expanded Use of PIAB

In June 2008, a panel of experts issued a report recommending that future presidents make better use of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board than President George W. Bush, who became too insulated during his two terms with respect to objective analysis of intelligence.

 

During his first term in office, President Bush reportedly only used the board once, according to the report. Future presidents, experts urged, should give the PIAB more staff and take it far more seriously as a tool to vet intelligence gathered by federal agencies. If used correctly, the board could give a president “warning signals” about problems in the intelligence world, such as looming threats from abroad and faulty patterns of intelligence similar to the deficiencies that led President Bush to conclude that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

 

The report, “The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: Learning Lessons from its Past to Shape Its Future,” was authored by Kenneth Absher, Michael Desch, and Roman Popadiuk—all of whom are former government officials affiliated with the presidential library of George H. W. Bush and the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. The report was financed by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, which supports science, technology, and research.

Report Backs Expansion of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (by Kenneth T. Walsh, US News & World Report)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Former Directors:

Stephen Friedman (2006-2009)

James Langdon, Jr. (2005-2005)

Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.) (2001-2004)

Warren B. Rudman (1997-2001)

Thomas S. Foley (1996-1997)

Warren B. Rudman (Acting) (1995-1996)

Les Aspin (1994-1995)

William J. Crowe, Jr., USN (Ret.) (1993-1994)

Bobby R. Inman, USN (Ret.) (Acting) (1991-1993)

John G. Tower (1990-1991)

Anne L. Armstrong (1982-1990)

Leo Cherne (1976-1977)

George W. Anderson, Jr., USN (Ret.) (1970-1976)

Maxwell D. Taylor, USA (Ret.) (1968-1970)

Clark H. Clifford (1963-1968)

James R. Killian (1956-1963)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Founded: 1956
Annual Budget:
Employees: 16
President's Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board
Wolin, Neil
Chair

Neil Steven Wolin became chair of the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) on May 24, 2015. It is through the IOB that the President's Intelligence Advisory Board advises the president of the United States on the legality of foreign intelligence activities. The IOB also investigates violations of the laws that govern clandestine surveillance. It was created by President Gerald Ford via executive order on March 1, 1976, in response to a 1975–1976 congressional investigation into assassination operations and domestic spying conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

 

Wolin was born in Evanston, Illinois, on December 9, 1961. He and his younger sister, Karen, were raised by parents Harry S. and Doris W. Wolin. Harry was a partner in the Chicago law firm of Cohon, Raizes & Regal, and Doris worked for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago as director of the Israel Experience, a program devoted to helping young adults visit Israel. Neil Wolin earned a B.A. in history from Yale University in 1983, an M.Sc. in development economics from England’s Balliol College at the University of Oxford in 1985, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1988.

 

After graduating from law school, Wolin took a job as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Eugene Nickerson in Brooklyn, New York, and taught at Brooklyn Law School. He also did work for the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.

 

Wolin then joined the Clinton administration to serve as deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council. In 1995, he served as deputy general counsel of the Department of the Treasury. He became general counsel in July 1999, a post he held until January 2001 when George W. Bush became president of the United States. Wolin also worked as executive assistant to two national security advisors—Anthony Lake and Sandy Berger—and as special assistant to three CIA directors, William H. Webster, Robert Gates and R. James Woolsey, Jr.

 

In early 2001, Wolin became an adjunct assistant professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a visiting fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

 

In March 2001, Wolin set off for Hartford, Connecticut, to join the Hartford Financial Services Group as its executive vice president and general counsel. In June 2007, he rose to the position of president and chief operating officer of Hartford’s property and casualty operations. His responsibilities included overseeing the company’s communications, government affairs, law, marketing and tax functions.

 

In February 2009, Wolin returned to Washington to join the Obama administration as deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president for economic policy. His duties included advising the president, his staff, and the National Economic Council on housing policy, their response to the financial crisis, and the design and implementation of the Recovery Act.

 

Wolin’s job lasted only four months. In March 2009, President Barack Obama nominated him as deputy secretary of the Treasury, an appointment that prompted objections from both the left and the right. The left objected to Wolin’s role in providing “the technical and legal drafting” for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act and played an important role in causing the economic collapse of 2008. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act lifted the federal restrictions on banks using depositors’ money as capital for corporate investments and mergers and as collateral for risky loans. The right was suspicious of Wolin because he was a major player for Hartford Insurance, which was now requesting bailout funds from the Department of Treasury. Nonetheless, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 18, 2009.

 

When Timothy Geithner stepped down as secretary of the Treasury on January 25, 2013, Wolin became acting secretary until Jack Lew took over as secretary on February 28, 2013.​ Wolin continued to serve as deputy secretary until September 2013, making him the longest-serving individual to hold that post, according to the Treasury Department.

 

Wolin subsequently became an advisor to venture capital firm Nyca Partners and consultant/senior counselor at The Brunswick Group. He also became an equity partner at Data Collective Venture Capital and a board partner at The Social+Capital Partnership, both venture capital firms based in northern California.

 

Wolin is married to Nicole Louise Elkon, a former special assistant and deputy director of scheduling to President Bill Clinton (1995 to 1997) and former director of planning for the National Security Council (1997 to 1999). She was also the chief of staff and the director of communications for the New York-based 9/11 United Services Group, which coordinates charitable assistance for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their families.

 

Although Wolin and Elkon both worked in the White House during the Clinton administration, they didn’t meet until a mutual friend introduced them in July 2001.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

Reflections from the Former Deputy Treasury Secretary (by Noah Silverman (noahsilverman.com)

Official Biography

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Miscik, Jami
Co-Chair

Jami Miscik, whose 22-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) included high-level global intelligence analysis and assessment, became co-chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) on August 29, 2014. The mission of the board, which was established in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower, is to keep the president apprised of the quality and adequacy of U.S. foreign intelligence efforts, including intelligence collection, estimates and analysis.                                 

 

Judith A. "Jami" Miscik was born in 1958 in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Redondo Beach, California. She earned a B.A. in economics and political science from Pepperdine University in 1980 and an M.A. in international studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1982.

 

Miscik joined the CIA in 1983 as an economic analyst with a focus on political instability in relation to Third World debt. She was then put in charge of the agency’s Directorate of Intelligence analytic programs that dealt with civil technologies and economic competitiveness. In 1995 she was made director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, in charge of overseeing covert operations. Between 1996 and 1997, she served as executive assistant to George Tenet who, during that time, transitioned from deputy director to director of the CIA.

 

In January 1998, Miscik was named deputy director of the CIA’s Nonproliferation Center, which had been established in 1992 in support of U.S. policy on foreign weapons threats. In January 1999, she became director of Transnational Issues at the agency. In August 2000, she was appointed associate deputy director for intelligence. She subsequently oversaw the team of CIA analysts that produced the August 6, 2001, report, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.,” which was infamously ignored by the George W. Bush administration prior to the 9/11 attacks five weeks later.

 

Between May 2002 and 2005, Miscik served as the CIA’s deputy director for Intelligence, in charge of all agency analysis, as well as preparation of content for the President’s Daily Brief. She was one of the CIA officials who rejected the linking of Iraq president Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda as one of the stated reasons for invading Iraq in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. Miscik threatened to resign from the agency in January 2003, two months before the invasion, in response to pressure from then-vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Libby was subsequently convicted on charges relating to his disclosure of classified information—the identity of a covert CIA officer, Valerie Plame Wilson.

 

Miscik left the CIA on February 4, 2005, part of the mass exodus of CIA officials that occurred in the aftermath of the September 2004 appointment of Porter Goss as the agency’s new director. The purge by Goss included firings of, and abrupt resignations by, the agency’s highest officials, former director Tenet’s deputies, and most of the clandestine service’s top personnel. Miscik’s “decision to depart was not hers,” according to an anonymous former intelligence official quoted by The New York Times, who explained that Miscik had been told, just prior to Christmas, that Goss had made the request.

 

Miscik’s tenure at the CIA, particularly while at the top echelons of global intelligence analysis, saw her endure some of the agency’s most difficult moments in recent times—from its own failure to “connect the dots” that could have foiled the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to its flawed analysis in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which contributed to the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Miscik weathered those events at her agency, worked to institute changes within the CIA with the goal of ensuring that such blunders would not be repeated, and left with Wall Street in her career sights.

 

In June 2005, Miscik joined Lehman Brothers in New York City as its global head of sovereign risk. The firm declared bankruptcy in September 2008, having imploded from the blowback of its role in the subprime mortgage crisis. Miscik stayed on until shortly after Barclays Bank purchased what was left of Lehman.

 

In January 2009, Miscik became president and vice-chairman of New York-based Kissinger Associates, the secrecy-shrouded international investment firm founded and operated by Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. In May 2015, she was named co-CEO of the company.

 

When Barack Obama won the presidency in November 2008, Miscik was recruited to help the new administration set up its intelligence team along with John Brennan (then an intelligence consultant and controversial senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign who would go on to serve as CIA director between March 2013 and January 2017). On December 23, 2009, Obama appointed Miscik as a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, a position she would continue to hold for the five years leading up to her appointment as PIAB’s co-chair. Along the way, in June 2009, Miscik was named senior advisor on geopolitical risk to Barclays Capital.

 

Miscik also serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Morgan Stanley, EMC Corporation, Pivotal Labs, In-Q-Tel, and the American Ditchley Foundation.

 

“The story of how Miscik has survived her [CIA] agency's tragic shortcomings, learned to stand up to an aggressively political Bush administration… and managed to achieve platinum-level credibility on Wall Street is a tale of intrigue and redemption,” wrote Patricia Sellers at Fortune. “Even today she remains a woman of mystery among her colleagues.”

 

Indeed, Sellers reported that Miscik’s co-workers have said she reminded them of Nancy Drew, the fictional detective in the children’s mystery book series. To which Miscik confessed, “I read her as a kid.”

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

The Spy Goes to Wall Street (by Patricia Sellers, Fortune)

Jami Miscik Comes in from the Cold (by A. James Memmott, Muckety)

Jami Miscik on C-SPAN (videos—C-SPAN)

CIA Analysts Keep Leaders Informed (by John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press)

Biography (Council on Foreign Relations)

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Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board (PIAB) is a group of non-governmental appointees whose job is to evaluate the quality and adequacy of American foreign intelligence efforts and reports their findings to the President. The PIAB communicates with department heads, conducts onsite inspections and accesses classified information in order to find shortcomings in the collection, analysis and reporting of intelligence by federal agencies. Historically, the board has been used substantially by some Presidents (John Kennedy) and very little or not at all by others (George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter). During the current administration of George W. Bush, the board was largely ignored during the President’s first term but was used more in his second term. In 2008, President Bush made substantial changes to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (formerly known as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) and the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB), which, under Bush, became something of a paper tiger as a result of an executive order. The composition of the PIAB also came under attack because of connections between members and President Bush and the business dealings of chairpersons. In his first year in office, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that restored the authority of the IOB, requiring it to inform the attorney general of any perceived illegal activity on the part of a U.S. intelligence agency.

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History:

The idea for creating a presidential body on intelligence matters started with the 1955 Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government which recommended that the President appoint a committee of knowledgeable private citizens to examine and report to him periodically on American foreign intelligence efforts. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower formed the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities. Eisenhower’s successor, President John F. Kennedy, changed the name to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).

 

In the mid 1970s, President Gerald Ford created the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) following investigations by Congress, such as the Church Committee, into domestic spying, assassination operations, and other abuses by intelligence agencies. The IOB’s job was to review intelligence operations to ensure that U.S. laws were not violated in the course of clandestine work by American agents.

 

During the administration of Jimmy Carter, the PFIAB was not utilized, making Carter the only President not to rely on this body of experts. He abolished the board because he did not consider its reviews any more rigorous than similar evaluations conducted by the National Security Council, the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the intelligence community itself. Carter did, however, retain the IOB to initiate inquires into covert operations.

 

President Ronald Reagan revived PFIAB, at first appointing 21 members. Then, in 1985, he dismissed half of the group because he felt the board was too cumbersome to operate at that size. Some critics have suggested that the real reason Reagan took this action was to limit any snooping by PFIAB members into the highly secret Iran-Contra operation.

 

Reagan’s successor, President George H. W. Bush, was said to have distrusted the PFIAB, going back to when he served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) under President Ford. Bush supposedly felt the board members were outsiders who second-guessed the DCI while reporting directly to the President. But instead of dismantling the board, as some expected, Bush reduced its membership from 15 to 6, and he did not rely upon it. 

 

In 1997, President Bill Clinton officially merged the PFIAB and IOB through Executive Order #12863, with the oversight board becoming a standing committee of PFIAB. The reorganization did not amount to much real change since members commonly served on both bodies. Clinton did call upon the PFIAB to analyze security threats in the Energy Department’s nuclear laboratories during the period of the infamous Wen Ho Lee scandal. From that episode, the PFIAB issued a report, “Science at its Best, Security at its Worst,” which suggested that China may have used information stolen by spies at American laboratories to enhance their nuclear weapons capability. The report also recommended substantial changes in the way the federal government operates and secures its nuclear weapons and other highly classified scientific facilities.

 

During the first administration of George W. Bush, the IOB investigated 13 cases involving FBI intelligence-gathering operations. It is unknown whether the IOB looked into other questionable intelligence operations, such as the warrantless eavesdropping conducted by the National Security Agency at the orders of the White House. It was made public, however, that the PFIAB reviewed the intelligence upon which the Bush administration relied in deciding to invade Iraq in 2003. Prior to the attack, the President cited in his State of the Union speech information about nuclear material that Iraq had supposedly acquired from Niger to help build weapons of mass destruction that proved to be false.

 

In December 2003, the board concluded that the White House made the assertion about the Niger uranium out of desperation to show that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had an active program to develop nuclear weapons. After reviewing the matter for several months, the PFIAB (which was chaired at that time by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft) determined that there was “no deliberate effort to fabricate” a story by the White House. Instead, the board believed the White House was so anxious “to grab onto something affirmative” about Hussein’s nuclear ambitions that it disregarded warnings from the intelligence community that the claim was questionable.

 

Five years later, President Bush shook up the PFIAB and IOB. In February 2008, he issued an executive order that terminated the IOB’s authority to oversee the general counsel and inspector general of each U.S. intelligence agency and erased the requirement that each inspector general file a report with the IOB every three months. The order also removed the IOB’s authority to refer a matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation and directed the IOB to notify the president of a problem only if other officials are not already “adequately” addressing that problem. In the opinion of some observers, the move essentially gutted the IOB (see Controversies).

 

The same directive changed the name of the PFIAB to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board.

 

In October 2009, President Barack Obama issued his own executive order that amended the Bush order, effectively restoring IOB’s authority.

 

SourceWatch profile of President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What it Does:

The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board (PIAB) provide advice to the President regarding the work of intelligence gathering operations in the U.S. government. The PIAB is charged with examining the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, intelligence analysis and estimates, counterintelligence efforts and other intelligence activities. The PIAB, through its Intelligence Oversight Board, also, theoretically, advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities.

 

Through meetings with intelligence leaders, substantive briefings and visits to intelligence installations, the PIAB seeks to identify deficiencies in the collection, analysis and reporting of intelligence. It also tries to eliminate unnecessary duplication and functional overlap between intelligence agencies, and it works to ensure that major programs are responsive to clearly perceived needs and that the technology employed represents the product of the best minds and technical capabilities available in the nation.

 

According to the White House, the PIAB is composed of members selected from among “distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity.” The board currently consists of the following members:

 

Chuck Hagel, co-chair (10/28/2009)

David Boren, co-chair (10/28/2009)

Roel Campos (12/23/2009)

Lee Hamilton (12/23/2009)

Rita Hauser (12/23/2009)

Paul Kaminski (12/23/2009)

Ellen Laipson (12/23/2009)

Les Lyles (12/23/2009)

Judith Miscik (12/23/2009)

Richard Danzig (12/1/2010)

Daniel Meltzer (12/1/2010)

Thomas Wheeler (4/17/2011)

Mona Sutphen (9/6/2011)

Phillip Zelikow (9/6/2011)

 

The White House has never publicly disclosed the identities of the members of the IOB. A lawsuit was filed in September 2011 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) of failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request that had been made in February, which sought information about the IOB appointments. A week later, in response to the lawsuit, the ODNI produced documents containing information on three PIAB members (Chuck Hagel, Lester Lyles, and David Boren), presumably implying that they are also IOB members. Their membership in the IOB, along with that of Daniel Meltzer, was subsequently acknowledged.

 

From the Web Site of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board

About the PIAB

Introduction to PIAB

Members

PIAB History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Does the Money Go:

USAspending.gov, the federal government Web site that provides information on contracts issued by Executive Branch agencies, does not list any information for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:

Intelligence Oversight Board Stripped of Powers

In February 2008, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that reorganized the functions of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board. In the case of the latter, the directive effectively stripped the IOB of much of its authority. The White House did not say why it was necessary to change the rules governing the board.

 

But critics say Bush’s order was consistent with a pattern of steps by the administration that have systematically scaled back Watergate-era intelligence reforms. “It’s quite clear that the Bush administration officials who were around in the 1970s are settling old scores now,” Tim Sparapani, then-senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, said at the time. “Here they are even preventing oversight within the executive branch. They have closed the books on the post-Watergate era.”

 

President Gerald Ford created the IOB following a 1975-76 investigation by Congress into domestic spying, assassination operations and other abuses by intelligence agencies. The probe prompted fierce battles between Congress and the Ford administration, whose top officials included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the current President’s father, George H. W. Bush.

 

Prior to the issuing of the executive order, the IOB was required to notify the President and the U.S. Attorney General whenever it learned of intelligence activity that might be “unlawful or contrary to executive order.” But Bush’s order deleted the board’s authority to refer matters to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, and the new order said the board should notify the president only if other officials are not already “adequately” addressing the problem.

 

Bush’s order also terminated the IOB’s authority to oversee each intelligence agency’s general counsel and inspector general, and it erased a requirement that each inspector general file a report with the board every three months. Under Bush’s dictum, only the agency directors could decide whether to report any potential lawbreaking to the panel, and they had no schedule for checking in.

 

Suzanne Spaulding, a former deputy counsel at the CIA who has worked as a congressional staff member on intelligence committees for members of both parties, said the order “really diminishe[d] the language that calls on the Intelligence Oversight Board to conduct independent inquiries,” leaving the panel as potentially little more than “paper pushers.”

 

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at both the CIA and the National Security Agency who is now the dean of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, said it was unwise for the Bush administration to undermine the Intelligence Oversight Board at the same time that the administration was pushing for fewer restrictions on its intelligence powers.

 

In October 2009, President Barack Obama reversed Bush’s order. With his own executive order, Obama restored OIB’s authority to tell the attorney general if it believes that a U.S. intelligence agency may have broken the law or committed intelligence-related violations. Former counsel Spaulding hailed the action: “Greater independence gives the board greater credibility, which is particularly important for oversight in an area so shrouded in secrecy,"

President weakens espionage oversight (by Charlie Savage, Boston Globe)

Obama Order Strengthens Spy Oversight (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

Oversight Board Fails to Catch Intelligence Violations

In October 2005, it was revealed that the FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some American residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight. In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years—including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved from New York to Detroit.

 

The revelations came to light following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which gained access to records from the FBI. The documents provided to EPIC focused on 13 cases from 2002 to 2004 that were referred to the Intelligence Oversight Board, which was supposed to examine violations of the laws and directives governing clandestine surveillance.

 

Case numbers on the documents indicated that a minimum of 287 potential violations were identified by the FBI during those three years, but the actual number is certainly higher because the records were incomplete.

FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations (by Dan Eggen, Washington Post)

 

 

Intelligence Board Chair Gains China Deal for Law Firm

In July 2005, it was reported that the chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, James C. Langdon Jr., had met the previous winter with investment bankers in China to help secure a lobbying deal for his law firm, Akin Gump, with a state-run Chinese energy firm seeking to buy the U.S. oil company Unocal Corp.

 

Langdon had been an important fundraiser for President Bush, raising more than $200,000 and earning the distinction of “Ranger” by the President’s campaign. As a member of the PIAB, Langdon enjoyed the highest security clearance and developed top-secret advisories and reports for the President, most of which are not even available to members of Congress.

 

In February 2005, the President had reappointed Langdon for another term as the board chair. But by the following year, Langdon stepped down and was replaced by Stephen Friedman.

Bush Adviser Helped Law Firm Land Job Lobbying for CNOOC (by Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)

 

Bush Cronies Dominate Intelligence Board

In 2005, Salon.com published a story that pointed out the personal and business connections of PFIAB members with President George W. Bush. The members included Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt, one of Bush’s biggest financial backers, and Cincinnati financier William DeWitt Jr., who backed Bush in all of his business deals going back to 1984, when DeWitt’s company, Spectrum 7, bailed out the faltering entity known as Bush Oil Co. Another appointee was former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a Bush confidant since his days in Midland, Texas.

 

Ray Close, a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired intelligence officers that has been critical of the Bush administration’s handling of intelligence matters, called some of the appointments “unbelievable.” Close, who worked for the CIA for 27 years as an Arabist, added, “I can’t imagine anyone who has the president’s interest in mind allowing him to do this. With the notable exception of Lee Hamilton, most of the choices look very weak, and several scream of cronyism.”

 

Hamilton was a former Democratic congressman from Indiana who chaired the House Foreign Affairs committee.

Top-secret cronies (by Robert Bryce, Salon.com)

 

 

White House Withholds Names of PIAB Members

In 2002, The Nation first reported that the Bush White House was refusing to disclose the names of those serving on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. A reporter was told “that information is provided only on a need-to-know basis,” said Roosevelt Roy, the board’s administrative assistant. The announcement ran contrary to previous practices by U.S. presidents, such as Bill Clinton, who made the names of members available to the public via the board’s Web site.

 

Two days after the Nation story appeared, the board’s executive director apologized to the reporter, saying, “You got some bad information,” and that Roy had “grossly misspoken” about the membership list. As it turned out, the names of the board members had been released through a press release in 2001.

Who's On PFIAB-A Bush Secret...Or Not? UPDATED (by David Corn, The Nation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suggested Reforms:

Experts Urge Expanded Use of PIAB

In June 2008, a panel of experts issued a report recommending that future presidents make better use of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board than President George W. Bush, who became too insulated during his two terms with respect to objective analysis of intelligence.

 

During his first term in office, President Bush reportedly only used the board once, according to the report. Future presidents, experts urged, should give the PIAB more staff and take it far more seriously as a tool to vet intelligence gathered by federal agencies. If used correctly, the board could give a president “warning signals” about problems in the intelligence world, such as looming threats from abroad and faulty patterns of intelligence similar to the deficiencies that led President Bush to conclude that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

 

The report, “The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: Learning Lessons from its Past to Shape Its Future,” was authored by Kenneth Absher, Michael Desch, and Roman Popadiuk—all of whom are former government officials affiliated with the presidential library of George H. W. Bush and the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. The report was financed by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, which supports science, technology, and research.

Report Backs Expansion of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (by Kenneth T. Walsh, US News & World Report)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Former Directors:

Stephen Friedman (2006-2009)

James Langdon, Jr. (2005-2005)

Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.) (2001-2004)

Warren B. Rudman (1997-2001)

Thomas S. Foley (1996-1997)

Warren B. Rudman (Acting) (1995-1996)

Les Aspin (1994-1995)

William J. Crowe, Jr., USN (Ret.) (1993-1994)

Bobby R. Inman, USN (Ret.) (Acting) (1991-1993)

John G. Tower (1990-1991)

Anne L. Armstrong (1982-1990)

Leo Cherne (1976-1977)

George W. Anderson, Jr., USN (Ret.) (1970-1976)

Maxwell D. Taylor, USA (Ret.) (1968-1970)

Clark H. Clifford (1963-1968)

James R. Killian (1956-1963)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Founded: 1956
Annual Budget:
Employees: 16
President's Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board
Wolin, Neil
Chair

Neil Steven Wolin became chair of the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) on May 24, 2015. It is through the IOB that the President's Intelligence Advisory Board advises the president of the United States on the legality of foreign intelligence activities. The IOB also investigates violations of the laws that govern clandestine surveillance. It was created by President Gerald Ford via executive order on March 1, 1976, in response to a 1975–1976 congressional investigation into assassination operations and domestic spying conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

 

Wolin was born in Evanston, Illinois, on December 9, 1961. He and his younger sister, Karen, were raised by parents Harry S. and Doris W. Wolin. Harry was a partner in the Chicago law firm of Cohon, Raizes & Regal, and Doris worked for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago as director of the Israel Experience, a program devoted to helping young adults visit Israel. Neil Wolin earned a B.A. in history from Yale University in 1983, an M.Sc. in development economics from England’s Balliol College at the University of Oxford in 1985, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1988.

 

After graduating from law school, Wolin took a job as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Eugene Nickerson in Brooklyn, New York, and taught at Brooklyn Law School. He also did work for the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.

 

Wolin then joined the Clinton administration to serve as deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council. In 1995, he served as deputy general counsel of the Department of the Treasury. He became general counsel in July 1999, a post he held until January 2001 when George W. Bush became president of the United States. Wolin also worked as executive assistant to two national security advisors—Anthony Lake and Sandy Berger—and as special assistant to three CIA directors, William H. Webster, Robert Gates and R. James Woolsey, Jr.

 

In early 2001, Wolin became an adjunct assistant professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a visiting fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

 

In March 2001, Wolin set off for Hartford, Connecticut, to join the Hartford Financial Services Group as its executive vice president and general counsel. In June 2007, he rose to the position of president and chief operating officer of Hartford’s property and casualty operations. His responsibilities included overseeing the company’s communications, government affairs, law, marketing and tax functions.

 

In February 2009, Wolin returned to Washington to join the Obama administration as deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president for economic policy. His duties included advising the president, his staff, and the National Economic Council on housing policy, their response to the financial crisis, and the design and implementation of the Recovery Act.

 

Wolin’s job lasted only four months. In March 2009, President Barack Obama nominated him as deputy secretary of the Treasury, an appointment that prompted objections from both the left and the right. The left objected to Wolin’s role in providing “the technical and legal drafting” for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act and played an important role in causing the economic collapse of 2008. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act lifted the federal restrictions on banks using depositors’ money as capital for corporate investments and mergers and as collateral for risky loans. The right was suspicious of Wolin because he was a major player for Hartford Insurance, which was now requesting bailout funds from the Department of Treasury. Nonetheless, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 18, 2009.

 

When Timothy Geithner stepped down as secretary of the Treasury on January 25, 2013, Wolin became acting secretary until Jack Lew took over as secretary on February 28, 2013.​ Wolin continued to serve as deputy secretary until September 2013, making him the longest-serving individual to hold that post, according to the Treasury Department.

 

Wolin subsequently became an advisor to venture capital firm Nyca Partners and consultant/senior counselor at The Brunswick Group. He also became an equity partner at Data Collective Venture Capital and a board partner at The Social+Capital Partnership, both venture capital firms based in northern California.

 

Wolin is married to Nicole Louise Elkon, a former special assistant and deputy director of scheduling to President Bill Clinton (1995 to 1997) and former director of planning for the National Security Council (1997 to 1999). She was also the chief of staff and the director of communications for the New York-based 9/11 United Services Group, which coordinates charitable assistance for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their families.

 

Although Wolin and Elkon both worked in the White House during the Clinton administration, they didn’t meet until a mutual friend introduced them in July 2001.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

Reflections from the Former Deputy Treasury Secretary (by Noah Silverman (noahsilverman.com)

Official Biography

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Miscik, Jami
Co-Chair

Jami Miscik, whose 22-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) included high-level global intelligence analysis and assessment, became co-chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) on August 29, 2014. The mission of the board, which was established in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower, is to keep the president apprised of the quality and adequacy of U.S. foreign intelligence efforts, including intelligence collection, estimates and analysis.                                 

 

Judith A. "Jami" Miscik was born in 1958 in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Redondo Beach, California. She earned a B.A. in economics and political science from Pepperdine University in 1980 and an M.A. in international studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1982.

 

Miscik joined the CIA in 1983 as an economic analyst with a focus on political instability in relation to Third World debt. She was then put in charge of the agency’s Directorate of Intelligence analytic programs that dealt with civil technologies and economic competitiveness. In 1995 she was made director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, in charge of overseeing covert operations. Between 1996 and 1997, she served as executive assistant to George Tenet who, during that time, transitioned from deputy director to director of the CIA.

 

In January 1998, Miscik was named deputy director of the CIA’s Nonproliferation Center, which had been established in 1992 in support of U.S. policy on foreign weapons threats. In January 1999, she became director of Transnational Issues at the agency. In August 2000, she was appointed associate deputy director for intelligence. She subsequently oversaw the team of CIA analysts that produced the August 6, 2001, report, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.,” which was infamously ignored by the George W. Bush administration prior to the 9/11 attacks five weeks later.

 

Between May 2002 and 2005, Miscik served as the CIA’s deputy director for Intelligence, in charge of all agency analysis, as well as preparation of content for the President’s Daily Brief. She was one of the CIA officials who rejected the linking of Iraq president Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda as one of the stated reasons for invading Iraq in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. Miscik threatened to resign from the agency in January 2003, two months before the invasion, in response to pressure from then-vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Libby was subsequently convicted on charges relating to his disclosure of classified information—the identity of a covert CIA officer, Valerie Plame Wilson.

 

Miscik left the CIA on February 4, 2005, part of the mass exodus of CIA officials that occurred in the aftermath of the September 2004 appointment of Porter Goss as the agency’s new director. The purge by Goss included firings of, and abrupt resignations by, the agency’s highest officials, former director Tenet’s deputies, and most of the clandestine service’s top personnel. Miscik’s “decision to depart was not hers,” according to an anonymous former intelligence official quoted by The New York Times, who explained that Miscik had been told, just prior to Christmas, that Goss had made the request.

 

Miscik’s tenure at the CIA, particularly while at the top echelons of global intelligence analysis, saw her endure some of the agency’s most difficult moments in recent times—from its own failure to “connect the dots” that could have foiled the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to its flawed analysis in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which contributed to the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Miscik weathered those events at her agency, worked to institute changes within the CIA with the goal of ensuring that such blunders would not be repeated, and left with Wall Street in her career sights.

 

In June 2005, Miscik joined Lehman Brothers in New York City as its global head of sovereign risk. The firm declared bankruptcy in September 2008, having imploded from the blowback of its role in the subprime mortgage crisis. Miscik stayed on until shortly after Barclays Bank purchased what was left of Lehman.

 

In January 2009, Miscik became president and vice-chairman of New York-based Kissinger Associates, the secrecy-shrouded international investment firm founded and operated by Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. In May 2015, she was named co-CEO of the company.

 

When Barack Obama won the presidency in November 2008, Miscik was recruited to help the new administration set up its intelligence team along with John Brennan (then an intelligence consultant and controversial senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign who would go on to serve as CIA director between March 2013 and January 2017). On December 23, 2009, Obama appointed Miscik as a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, a position she would continue to hold for the five years leading up to her appointment as PIAB’s co-chair. Along the way, in June 2009, Miscik was named senior advisor on geopolitical risk to Barclays Capital.

 

Miscik also serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Morgan Stanley, EMC Corporation, Pivotal Labs, In-Q-Tel, and the American Ditchley Foundation.

 

“The story of how Miscik has survived her [CIA] agency's tragic shortcomings, learned to stand up to an aggressively political Bush administration… and managed to achieve platinum-level credibility on Wall Street is a tale of intrigue and redemption,” wrote Patricia Sellers at Fortune. “Even today she remains a woman of mystery among her colleagues.”

 

Indeed, Sellers reported that Miscik’s co-workers have said she reminded them of Nancy Drew, the fictional detective in the children’s mystery book series. To which Miscik confessed, “I read her as a kid.”

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

The Spy Goes to Wall Street (by Patricia Sellers, Fortune)

Jami Miscik Comes in from the Cold (by A. James Memmott, Muckety)

Jami Miscik on C-SPAN (videos—C-SPAN)

CIA Analysts Keep Leaders Informed (by John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press)

Biography (Council on Foreign Relations)

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