Dead Drop: September 28

DECIPHERING THE D/CIA: The Dead Drop poked some fun at the drastic differences in the headlines this week after CIA Director Gina Haspel’s first public comments made during a visit to her alma mater, the University of Louisville on Monday. The NYT headline said she was skeptical about North Korea while the WSJ quoted her as saying U.S.-North Korean relations had improved. NBC cited her focus on targeting opioids while the Washington Post highlighted the Agency returning to worrying about nation states.  While we value a broad range of perspectives here at The Dead Drop, we also believe there is great value in going directly to the source.  That challenge might have been made a bit easier if the Agency had quickly released a transcript of her remarks.  It took about 48 hours after her appearance before her prepared remarks appeared on the Agency’s website.

GOOD FIRST STEP, BUT:  Going back to the friendly surroundings of her college campus was a good call for Haspel’s initial outing in public after confirmation as CIA Director.  Even the welcoming local media noted, however, that she came and went via side doors, did not talk to the press before or after the appearance and took no audience questions.  No doubt organizers were not enthusiastic about the likelihood of the event being hijacked by questions regarding past CIA harsh interrogation practices – but at some point, the Director might want to appear in a less controlled circumstance. If she can handle the questions of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we figure she can handle the media’s questions. Why should she? To demonstrate the Agency has nothing to fear and nothing to be ashamed of, perhaps.

\”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 No.

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