Dozens of Top CIA Officials Leave for Private Firms

Thursday, April 14, 2011
The CIA has lost nearly 100 top officials to the private sector since Sept. 11, 2001, denying the spy agency a wealth of experience as it seeks to combat terrorism and other threats to the United States. The losses also represent a change in attitude by agency employees, who rarely used to trade their knowledge and skills for employment with government contractors.
Intelligence contractors have been hungry to hire CIA veterans so they can make money off Washington’s willingness to farm out spy work. According to research by The Washington Post, at least 91 upper-level managers have left the agency since 2001, transitioning into for-profit companies that now provide 30% of the intelligence workforce that Washington relies upon for national security information. Often what private companies want is not the knowledge and expertise of the ex-CIA personnel, but their contacts and their understanding of the bureaucracy.
The CIA has had trouble keeping its top posts filled. Over the last decade, it has had three directors of central intelligence, four deputy directors for operations and three directors of its counterterrorism center.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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