Dead Drop: January 11

CHICKS IN CHARGE:  Last week, The Cipher Brief was first to reveal that the CIA had named Cynthia ‘DiDi’ Rapp to be their new Deputy Director of Analysis. Other news organizations were quick to follow – some adding their own analysis.  For example, NBC News initially reported that “all three directorates” of the CIA would be led by women. They later modified that after readers pointed out that the Agency currently has FIVE directorates. Other news organizations reported that the “Top 3 Positions at the CIA Are Now Filled by Women” except that the number two position, the Deputy Director, is a guy named Vaughn Bishop and the number three position, the Chief Operating Officer, is Andrew Makridis.  But we get it – everyone is excited about the evidence that women are increasingly represented in the top ranks of the Agency, which is led by Gina Haspel. Well, almost everyone. Vladimir Putin’s RT(repeating the “all three directorates” error) searched the internet for Twitter users saying things like: “Now women can be recognized as war criminals too! Yay feminism?”  Lectures from Putin & pals on human rights.  Yeah, that’s the ticket. And if anyone knows how many women are at the top of the SVR, let us know.

GOING UP? President Trump has often let it be known that he knows as much about military stuff as “the generals” and sometimes has made the same point about the admirals.  For example, he lectured the commanding officer of USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76)  in a Thanksgiving phone call about the viability of electromagnetic catapults versus the traditional steam ones.  It is not just the launch systems on new aircraft carriers that can be problematic.  The newly commissioned USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN-78) reportedly has no functioning weapons elevators.  But Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer is confident he can fix that.  According to the U.S. Naval Institute News, Spencer says he talked about the problem with Trump at the Army-Navy game. “I asked him to stick his hand out; he stuck his hand out,” Spencer says he shook hands and told the President: “Let’s do this like corporate America…the elevators will be ready to go when she pulls out (by the end of the summer) or you can fire me.” Trump probably likes that kind of brashness.  Maybe if Spencer can fix the weapons lifts, he will be elevated to Secretary of Defense.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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