The Washington Post

CIA suffering from a big brain drain


“In the decade since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, private intelligence firms and security consultants have peeled away veterans from the top reaches of the CIA, hiring scores of longtime officers in large part to gain access to the burgeoning world of intelligence contracting,” Tate writes for Wednesday’s editions of The Post.

The departures mark “an end to a decades-old culture of discretion and restraint in which retired officers, by and large, stayed out of the intelligence business,” she adds. “It has also raised questions about the impact of the losses incurred by the agency. Veteran officers leave with a wealth of institutional knowledge, extensive personal contacts and an understanding of world affairs afforded only to those working at the nation’s preeminent repository of intelligence.”

Let there be no doubt: Tate’s reporting confirms that the long-feared federal retirement “tsunami” — or the departure of long-time, experienced government officials — is alive and well. It might not be happening at every agency, but it’s impacting essential government services.

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RELATED: The Washington Post’s Top Secret America project

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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