Dead Drop: May 6

CIA CTO, REALLY REAL: Last Friday, CIA Director Bill Burns announced the appointment of Nand Mulchandani to serve as the first Chief Technology Officer at the Agency. His job will be to “…ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations and scanning the horizon for tomorrow’s innovations to further CIA’s mission.” Mulchandani comes with an impressive resume.  Most recently, he was CTO and Acting Director of DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He has extensive experience in the private sector and degrees from Cornell, Stanford and Harvard. Mulchandani was born in India and later became a U.S. citizen. We noticed the announcement of his appointment sparked a lot of pride in his former homeland. And he apparently has a lot of friends judging by his LinkedIn post, where he talked about his new assignment. Within a few days, it had generated close to 40,000 likes, 2,500 comments and over 4 million impressions.  Most of the comments were positive. A few folks speculated that he wasn’t a real person but just a CIA-invented avatar. And a few troglodytes chastised him for revealing his secret gig.  That prompted Mulchandani to post an update informing readers that not everyone at CIA is undercover, his new role is designed to be public facing, and Dead Drop is assured that yes, he is a real person.

YOU CAN MAKE THIS STUFF UP – BUT YOU SHOULDN’T: In case you haven’t noticed, the Ukrainians have been outdoing the Russians in a variety of ways since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. On the land, in the air and on the sea – Kyiv has been kicking butt. Not only that, but they have also run rings around the Russians when it comes to information warfare. Still, their performance in that domain has not been flawless.  Case in point: there was word this week that the heroic pilot the Ukrainians had dubbed “the Ghost of Kyiv” was just an apparition. Apparently, the flyboy was just a figment of the fertile minds of Ukrainian air force officials who tried to spin a story about how the Ghost “embodies a collective image” of their many heroic pilots – but was not a single person. Until recently, they claimed ‘he’ was real. The Ukrainians had been feeding the Ghost’s legend since the start of the war – with some of their accounts crediting him for shooting down 40 Russian aircraft (which should have been a red flare, right there.) The Ukrainians even released ‘footage’ of some of his kills – which, as it turns out, were created in a flight simulator. Still, the disinformation seemed successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.  Here at The Dead Drop (DD), we kinda feel like they didn’t need to dream up the Ghost – a manuever that will only serve to undermine legitimate claims of military success going forward.

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