Here’s what caught our eye in the week of intelligence this week:
The CIA paid more than 10 million dollars to the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to help advise on the agency’s reorganization. Some view the association of the agency and firm with skepticism; never has the agency hired an outside consultant at such a price and some of the funding was apparently pulled from relevant departments’ budgets. Brennan apparently did not mention it to employees or lawmakers when he announced or explained the reorganization. Ten million dollars is really a drop in the bucket and, considering the Agency’s traditionally insular culture, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to bring in outside help for this.
The Senate intel committee’s Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 includes a provision that would require social media companies like Twitter to report terrorist to federal authorities. The legislation was voted out of committee on June 24th but has yet be voted on by the full Senate. The provision is likely to meet strong opposition from the civil liberties and tech communities.
U.S. officials announced that the OPM’s e-QIP system that is used for submitting background check forms will be taken offline for four to six weeks. A vulnerability was found in an OPM tool that links it to the Pentagon’s “Joint Personnel Adjudication System.” OPM officials claim there is no evidence hackers used the vulnerability to get into the system. They later acknowledged the outage will affect the ability to obtain security clearances, a process that can already take almost a year.
The CIA released a study that found a lack of diversity in the agency’s leadership. According to the survey racial or ethnic minorities make up only 10.8% of the agency’s high-ranking Senior Intelligence Service. With the conclusion of the study Director Brennan said the CIA does not “sufficiently prioritize the development of its officers,” or “hold itself accountable for maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace.” He also said senior leadership must attend “mandatory diversity and inclusion training.”
Back in 2000 the CIA wrote a 70 page report about what they expected the world would be like in 2015. Many of the predictions have been surprisingly accurate. For example the CIA thought “terrorist tactics will become increasingly sophisticated and designed to achieve mass casualties.” They also had predictions about population increases that were true. However, they did predict that the population of Africa will fall because of AIDS, and political and economic turmoil; this proved to be untrue, the population reached 1.1 billion in 2014.