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Council on Intelligence Issues



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CII’s programs increase the public's understanding of intelligence challenges and risks faced by people working for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.   




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CII and its network provide CIA and other intelligence officers counseling, access to lawyers as needed, and other assistance when legal concerns arise in connection with service to the Nation.    




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 CII welcomes financial and other donations including legal, analytic, operational, or other support. CII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and  contributions are tax deductible.  





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CII's Intelligence Awareness and 

Legal Resources

Reading Board

Intel Basics

This site contains articles, reviews, and other information on many of the core intelligence issues, with a particular focus on risks and challenges in intelligence collection, analysis, and covert action. Information about intelligence challenges and the relationship of intelligence to policy and operations will provide readers a broader understanding of CIA, the intelligence community, and the people who serve.

Director of National Intelligence releases the 2019 National Intelligence Strategy

How 9/11 Revealed the Importance of the President's Daily Brief

Top 10 CIA Myths (From CIA's website)

Former CIA expert discusses what makes a good disguise for spies (From the AFIO Newsletter and Wired, October 2018)

Readers may be interested in expert opinions related to national security that are not limited to intelligence issues and topics, but that touch upon such matters on occasion. Topics address foreign policy or legal matters, for example, and that information may be found at:

  • Intelligence Matters presents radio interviews of top intelligence community leaders by former CIA deputy Michael Morell on a variety of intelligence and other national security topics (sponsored by CBS News).

  • The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security of the hosts National Security Law Today podcasts, ABA's NSL Today, on a wide variey of national security legal topics including rule of law, surveillance challenges, and more.
Read More



Expert insights presented in selected articles, guidance, and other material can help current and former intelligence officers identify and deal with complex legal and other challenges arising out of their employment. 



Balancing Government and Employee Interests in Disputes?

Selected highlights from January 30 panel of experts who shared insights about handling disputes involving classified information.  The event was sponsored by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia at the law firm of Reed Smith LLP and was moderated by the Council on Intelligence Issues:

  • In disputes involving classified information, it's important to manage expectations early so that conflicts in litigation can be minimized.
  • Counsel outside government often don’t know the rules for getting access to and protecting information, which often leads to confusion, misunderstandings, and frustration.
  • There’s a need for more training or other education about the rules.
  • Rules for civil and criminal cases differ and parties to the litigation are not always sure what they are and why.
  • Sometimes outcomes can be or seem unfair because the rules are what they are.
  • It can be important to avoid alienating employees and creating toxic situation with potential CI or security risks.
  • Government officials don't like to see opposing counsel go to the press or Congress to make their cases, but opposing counsel sometimes think that's the only way to get the Government's attention to help the client.
  • Often the most important element in dealing with and minimizing conflicts: the individuals involved and how well they handle situations.
  • Generally the government attorneys and opposing counsel involved in IC-employee litigation may disagree but are operating in good faith. 

For information about this event and its partipants, see Event Archive



The American Bar Association recently updated its compilation of intelligence and national security legal documents.  For more information, see "The U.S. Intelligence Community Law Sourcebook 2019 Edition: A Compendium of National Security Related Laws and Policy Documents"

Justice Department Regulations for Representation of Government Officials by Department of Justice or Private Counsel 


Regulations that govern acceptance of process and production of CIA records (CIA Regulations)


For in-depth legal analysis of "How National Security Can Trump Individual Rights" (Read Here)

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What's Happening -- CII Alerts

Featured Alerts


Read selected letters, opinion pieces, or articles by the Council on Intelligence Issues or current and former intelligence officers, as well as other announcements and items of interest relating to intelligence and national security.

Protecting Defectors is a Moral Obligation

Following recent media allegations, a former official points out that there is a "moral" obligation to help protect foreign spies who have risked their lives to help the CIA.   View this YouTube video of Rachel Maddow's interview with Joe Augustyn, former head of CIA's defector resettlement center, on how CIA takes steps to protect defectors and others whose assitance put them at risk:

Open Letter To the American People About the Importance of Protecting IC Whistleblower

An Open Letter to the American People:

We are former national security officials who proudly served in a wide array of roles throughout the U.S. Government. We are writing about the Intelligence Community whistleblower’s lawful disclosure, which was recently made public. While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government. As such, he or she has by law the rightand indeed the responsibilityto make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing. That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns.

A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers. Whats more, being a responsible whistleblower means that, by law, one is protected from certain egregious forms of retaliation. Whatever ones view of the matters discussed in the whistleblowers complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection.



Review the List of 88 Officials who signed the open letter.

Whistleblower Complaint Dispute: Legal Analysis

Read two separate pieces with the analysis of Robert Litt, former General Counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about the dispute between the ODNI and the House intelligence committee over access to a whistleblower complaint on a matter of "urgent interest."

CII Panel Attracts Broad Interest

Former intelligence officers, government and private sector officials, lawyers, academics, and members of the press attended the CII's expert panel on "Intelligence Operations in a Digital Age" held June 24. 

Panelists agreed that c
yber has fundamentally changed how we think about intelligence and how we conduct intelligence operations.  As one panelists noted, “Cyber changes everything. Everywhere today, everything is out there, and there are lots of opportunities for getting it.” 

The panel was part of CII’s efforts to educate the public about the practical, policy, and legal factors that influence the planning and conduct of clandestine intelligence operations.  Participants addressed how technological advances can affect operations in an increasingly transparent world, and the challenges and risks that confront intelligence officers, their agents, and others who assist them to support U.S. national security objectives. 

Moderated by former CIA head of the national clandestine service Michael Sulick, the panel included former government officers with extensive public and private sector experience --

  • NSA Director of Information Assurance Daniel Ennis,
  • DNI General Counsel Robert Litt,
  • CIA Deputy and Acting General Counsel John Rizzo,
  • DHS Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding, and
  • CIA Information Operations Center chief Kevin Zerrusen. 

Participants addressed how technological advances can affect operations in an increasingly transparent world, and the challenges and risks that confront intelligence officers, their agents, and others who assist them to support U.S. national security objectives. 

For more about the panelists and the event,   READ PANEL HIGHLIGHTS

Quandaries: Deep Fakes and Cyber Conflict (The Duelfer Blog, July 12, 2019 posting provides an attendee's perspective on issues raised during the June 24 panel) (See


Remembering Mike Spann

(excerpts from, 25 May 2019)

". . . . .Johnny “Mike” Spann, a CIA officer who deployed to Afghanistan early in the war was killed on November 25, 2001 . . . . . when Taliban prisoners rioted. He was 32 years old.

"Spann was the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan. Before joining the CIA, Spann was a Marine, leaving with the rank of captain. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery alongside other American men and women who have served their nation in war. He is further honored with a black star on the CIA’s Memorial Wall at its Virginia headquarters, along with 132 other fallen agency colleagues.

"So this weekend, as we enjoy our barbecues and kick off the summer, let us not forget how extraordinarily blessed we are to have men and women such as Mike Spann, who willingly placed themselves in harm’s way to preserve our freedom—and paid the ultimate price."  Appeared in the May 25, 2019, print edition. ©2019 All Rights Reserved.





The Director of National Intelligence testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Intelligence Community's World Wide Threat Assessment.  (See DNI Statement on WWT, January 29, 2019)


CII Board of Directors  

We are updating our CII website and recently expanded theBoard of Directors as part of the exciting steps being taken to become a vibrant and effective voice to support CIA and other intelligence officers for their good faith service to the Nation.  The new Board consists of John Gannon (Chairman), George Jameson (President), Bill Murray (Vice President), Chuck Campbell, Mary Corrado, Dawn Eilenberger, John Nelson, and Alan Wade.  Darlene Connelly is stepping down from her position as CII's Corporate  Secretary, to be succeeded by Francie Schilling effective June 1.  (See more about CII's mission, vision, and directors and officers.)


CII on Federal News Radio

Listen to Federal News Radio's interview with CII's co-founders about CII (broadcast September 7, 2018, here's how FNR characterized CII: "Occasionally intelligence practitioners find themselves caught in legal trouble not totally of their own making. That’s the idea behind a new legal referral service called Council on Intelligence Issues.").



CIA Matters

Gina Haspel outlined CIA priorities in her first major speech (click for link to full text).

CIA's then-chief information officer and now the deputy chief operating officer stresses the need for a data-savvy CIA workforce (December 4, 2018). 

Executive Actions


Announcements, reports, directives, regulations, decisions, and other actions of the executive branch that affect or relate to intelligence employees, intelligence issues, or have national security implications. 



President issues Memorandum on Cooperation With Attorney General's Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns (23 May 2019)

Intelligence agencies brief 2020 campaigns on cybersecurity, espionage issues, See
CNN Kevin Collier (22 May 2019)

DNI Coats issues Security Executive Agent Directive 7 mandating security clearance reciprocity (9 November 2018)


The National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF) released the Insider Threat Program Maturity Framework (November 1, 2018)


Joint Statement from the ODNI, DoJ, FBI, and DHS  on Combatting Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections  (October 19, 2018)


See DNI Coats' Statement on the National Strategy for Counterterrorism (October 4, 2018)

Congressional Interests


Congressional actions, legislation proposed or enacted, and other actions of the legislative branch that affect or relate to intelligence employees, intelligence issues, or have other national security implications.  

Senate Intelligence Committee recently issued Volume 2 of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections (Russian Use of Social Media). 

See also Volume I (Russian Efforts  Against Election Infrastructure)


SSCI reports intelligence authorization bills to the Senate for fiscal years 2018, 2019, 2020  (May 22, 2019).  See S. 1589


SSCI Vice Chairman Mark Warner introduces legislation to improve security clearance processing (December 6, 2018)


See (July 11, 2018) SSCI Report to Accompany FY '18 & '19 Intelligence Authorization Act 


See also (July 12, 2018) House passes intelligence authorizations for FY'18 and '19


See (July 3, 2018) SSCI's Initial Findings Regarding IC's Assessment of Russian Interference into 2016 Election

Court Watch


Court decisions and other developments in court cases and investigations that relate to intelligence employees, intelligence issues, or that otherwise are of national security interest. 

DIA counterterrorism analyst charged with leaking classified Top Secret documents to journalists. See

Former DIA official sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for attempted espionage. See

U.S. reveals previously sealed Grand Jury Indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for conspiring to steal government secrets.
(See 11 April 2019, USA Today)


Former Air Force Intelligence Agent charged with Spying for Iran (NYTimes, February 14, 2019)

Ex-CIA contractor gets 90 days
for unauthorized retention of classified material (From AP News)

Former CIA employee pleads not guilty to leaks charges (From AP News) 

Citizens group wants prosecutions over rendition program

Other News


Selected items not covered in CII's executive, court, or congressional  alerts. These may include information concerning foreign governments or international organizations, state or local  governments, and the private sector.

CIA Director Gina Haspel's Auburn University speech
 (April 18, 2019)

Security Clearance Reform Overdue Overhaul, April 15, 2019 by Sina Beaghley

"Former CIA Officer Writings About Intelligence, Policy, and Politics, 2016-17"

Statement by Former CIA officials, tribute to George H.W. Bush 

CIA Remembers

George H.W. Bush


Statement by Director of the CIA Gina C. Haspel


“We’ve lost a great champion of the Agency—an accomplished Director, faithful advocate, and dear friend—with the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. As a heroic Navy pilot in the Second World War, a skilled statesman who deftly managed the collapse of the Soviet Union and liberated Kuwait from Saddam Husayn’s aggression, and a committed citizen who remained engaged in public service throughout his later years, President Bush exemplified the virtues of patriotism, duty, and compassion. Officers here at the George Bush Center for Intelligence and deployed around the globe honor the memory of a great American. On behalf of the men and women of CIA, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family.”



Secrecy in U.S. National Security: Why a Paradigm Shift is Needed.  (This RAND publication summarizes an examination of the current security classification system, identifies what works and what doesn't, and provides the authors' recommendations for improvement.) 


New 9/11 Memorial at CIA Headquarters. Read Here


Former national security officials express concerns about the revocation of former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance. [Read Here]


Former DDCI writes "Why so many former intelligence officers are speaking out."



Save the Date

December 10, 2019

The Council on Intelligence Issues


The International Spy Museum


"Preserving Intelligence Integrity

in a

Dangerous World"

     Intelligence must be credible to make an important and effective impact in supporting national security policy and operations. Preserving the integrity of intelligence processes, activities, and the officers who conduct them is essential to establishing and maintaining that credibility and is the focus of this discussion.  


     Distinguished former senior government officials will draw from their broad experiences in intelligence, law enforcement, and policy positions inside and outside the intelligence community.  Their insights will highlight factors that enhance or undermine the credibility, effectiveness, and impact of intelligence for national security decision-makers.  Panelists will share their thoughts on objectivity, "speaking truth to power," avoiding "group think", and the challenges of "bringing bad news". 


     Panelists will highlight some of the lessons learned and improvements instituted in the aftermath of the 9/11, Iraq WMD, and intelligence community reform to further the goal of the National Security Act to provide intelligence that is "timely, objective, independent of political considerations, and based upon all sources available." They also will share their views on what more they think needs to be done to enhance the effectiveness and impact of intelligence.  


John Gannon, Moderator and Chairman, Council on Intelligence Issues

  • Adjunct Professor, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University
  • Former: Chairman, National Intelligence Council; Assistant DCI for Analysis and Production; Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA


Peter Clement

  • Senior Research Fellow/Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  • Former: Deputy Assistant Director of CIA for Europe and Eurasia; Deputy Director for Intelligence for Analytic Programs


Robert Grenier

  • Chairman, ERG Partners; Author, Lecturer
  • Former: Director, CIA Counter Terrorism Center; CIA Station Chief and Senior Manager, Specialist in the Near East and South Asia


Chris Kojm

  • Professor of Practice and Director, Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Former: Chairman, National Intelligence Council; Deputy Director, 9/11 Commission; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, INR


Bill Murray

  • Founder, Alphom Group, LLC; Co-Founder and Vice President, Council on Intelligence Issues
  • Former: CIA Station Chief, Senior Manager & Operations Officer (Europe, Middle East, Balkans, South Asia)


The Honorable Caryn Wagner

  • Adjunct Faculty Member, National Intelligence University; Consultant, Lecturer
  • Former: Undersecretary for Intelligence & Analysis, Department of Homeland Security; Deputy Director for Analysis, Defense Intelligence Agency


Location:  International Spy Museum

Date:  Tuesday December 10

Time: 6:30 PM 

Additional information will be available at a later date.


The Council on Intelligence Issues from time to time will alert readers to events that are related to intelligence or national security sponsored by other organizations with whom we share common interests. 

Additional information about those events may be found by contacting those organizations via the links below: 


American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Law & National Security:

The Committee holds events of interest periodically.  Upcoming events include:


Annual National Security Law Review

Dates & Location:

November 7 & 8, 2019: 
Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C. 

For more information, see 


Potomac Officers Club/ExecutiveBiz:

4th Annual Army Forum


Date and Location:

Tuesday, October 2, 2019

   7:00 am - 9:45 am

   2941 Restaurant

   2941 Fairview Park Drive

   Falls Church, VA 22042


The Potomac Officers Club is an Executive Networking Organization, primarily consisting of members of the U.S. federal government contracting community.

For More Information

Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) Luncheon

Jonna Mendez, co-author of The Moscow Rules:  The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped American Win the Cold War


Vince Houghton Spy Museum Historian, author of The Nuclear Spies: America's Atomic Intelligence Operation Against Hitler and Stalin

Date and Location

Friday November 1, 2019

10:30 am - 2:00 pm

Tysons Corner

AFIO sponsors or hosts numerous events relating to intelligence. For more information about AFIO and its programs,

Visit AFIO Here

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA)

Leadership Dinner with NRO Director Christopher Scolese

December 3, 2019

5:30 - 7:30 PM, Registration/Reception

7:30 - 9:30 PM, Program & Dinner

Hilton McLean, Tysons Corner
7920 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA

Visit INSA Here for more information



The CII's educational events aim to highlight the risks and challenges facing intelligence officers as they carry out their responsibilities serving U.S.  national security interests.  CII plans to hold 3-4 events open to the public each year.

Here is an example of a prior event:

The Council on Intelligence Issues Panel Discussion

Intelligence Operations in a Digital Age

June 24, 2019 

Due to great interest, this  event was "SOLD OUT"

The Council on Intelligence Issues  thanks all those who registered for this event.    To read hightlights of the panelists' remarks and the robust participation of the attendees, Read Here.


"Intelligence Operations in a Digital Age."


A panel of former intelligence officials will address the impact of cyber and related national security threats and how technological advances challenge intelligence policy, operational, and legal officials and affect operations. 

Panelists will 
discuss practical, policy, and legal factors that can influence the planning and conduct of intelligence operations, including privacy and property interests that can be affected by operations, the obstacles to operating clandestinely in an increasingly transparent world, and the operational and personal liability risks that confront intelligence officers and others seeking clarity in what applicable laws and policies allow.

Michael Sulick, Moderator

  • Consultant, Insider Threat Issues and National Security Affairs
  • Former Director, National Clandestine Service, CIA

Daniel Ennis

  • Executive Director, Univ. of Maryland Cyber Initiative; CEO, DRE Consulting
  • Former Director, Threat Operations Center, NSA

Robert Litt

  • Of Counsel, Global Risk & Crisis Management, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Former General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

John Rizzo

  • Consultant, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
  • Former Deputy and Acting General Counsel, CIA

Suzanne Spaulding

  • Senior Adviser, Homeland Security, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Former Under Secretary, National Protection & Programs Directorate, DHS

Kevin Zerrusen

  • Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • Former Director, Information Operations Center, CIA


Event Date:

June 24, 2019

5:30 - 8:30 PM

Includes Reception


Hosted by

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

1330 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20036





Council on



About Us

The Council on Intelligence Issues (CII) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2010 to educate intelligence personnel and the public about important intelligence and other national security interests.  CII helps current and former officers, employees, and families of the CIA and other intelligence community agencies who may need legal counseling or other assistance in connection with their intelligence service.

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