Rick E. Yannuzzi*
The origins of the concept that has become In-Q-Tel are traceable to Dr. Ruth David, a former CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology. She and her Deputy, Joanne Isham, were the first senior Agency officials to understand that the information revolution required the CIA to forge new partnerships with the private sector and design a proposal for radical change. The timing of the proposal was fortuitous. The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), George Tenet, had just launched his Strategic Direction initiative that included technology as one of its areas for review. The study made a direct link between the Agency’s future technology investments and improving its information gathering and analysis capabilities.
By the summer of 1998, the Agency had assembled a few senior Agency staff employees with an entrepreneurial bent and empowered them to take Dr. David’s original concept and flesh it out. Aided by a consulting group and a law firm, they devoted the next four months to making the rounds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, putting the concept through the wringer. Much of the time was spent listening. Many they met with were often critical of one aspect or another of the concept. But, whether they were venture capitalists, Chief Executive Officers (CEO), Chief Technical Officers (CTO) or congressmen and staffers, they all eagerly immersed themselves in spirited debates that enriched the Agency team and drove the concept in new directions.
By the end of 1998, the Agency team reached a point at which the concept seemed about right. Though it had changed considerably from that which had been proposed initially by Dr. David, it remained true to its core principles. It was time to hand the product of the Agency’s work over to someone in the private sector with the experience and passion necessary to start the Corporation. To the delight of the DCI and the Agency team, Mr.... [continues]
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