Dead Drop: January 25

BIG APPOINTMENT:  On January 22, The Dead Drop was the first to reveal that the CIA has appointed John Edwards (no, not THAT John Edwards) as their Deputy Chief Operating Officer.  This is an important, but widely unknown to the public, position.  By some calculations, it is the #4 ranking position within the Agency.  Edwards comes from the Agency’s CIO position and replaces Cynthia “DiDi” Rapp who is moving on to lead the CIA’s analysis directorate. Edwards, a widely respected technologist, has over twenty years of experience with the intelligence community – but that experience was broken up with an excursion to the private sector where he held leadership positions with Four12, Accenture, Agilex Technologies and Blackbird Technologies. In a speech last month, Edwards said that data is the “tip of the spear” for intelligence and stressed that people with digital proficiency are the CIA’s “most important resource.”

WAIT, WHAT? This week the Director of National Intelligence released a slick publication laying out the National Intelligence Strategy for 2019. Reading the document, savvy intelligence reporters, like the Washington Post’s Shane Harris, couldn’t help but notice that it emphasizes concerns about adversaries who exploit “the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals” and “increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West.” You mean, like threatening to pull the U.S. out of NATO? We suspect that the DNI is confident that the President won’t read the 36-page-long report.

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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