Current News



CIA launches a podcast, hoping to 'demystify' the agency and boost recruitment

Michael Wilner, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Burns and the podcast’s hosts had some fun at the expense of Hollywood’s depictions of spies, noting their work “doesn’t always involve fast cars and solo heroics.”

“I should start by saying that I love spy movies,” Burns said. “But one big misconception that a lot of those really entertaining movies feed is that intelligence in real life is just a glamorous world of solo operators in the world of James Bond and Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan. A world of heroic individuals who drive fast cars and defuse bombs and solve world crises all on their own every day.”

“The truth is that intelligence is very much a team sport,” he added.

Burns described the agency’s warnings over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine among its greatest recent successes, as well as the intelligence operation that led to the successful strike against al-Qaida’s co-founder, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

But new challenges, driven by great power competition with China, are driving the agency to adapt its mission set and recruitment strategies, Burns said.


“We need to organize ourselves to navigate successfully what is an incredibly complicated international terrain,” Burns said. “We’re trying to put more resources, recruit more Mandarin speakers, to help address that central geopolitical challenge.”

“But it also means we have to deal with declining powers — not just rising ones — like Russia,” he added. “And Putin demonstrates every day that declining powers can be at least as disruptive as rising ones.”

The Langley Files will be available on all streaming platforms and the CIA’s website.

©2022 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus