Seven Years After 9/11, Spies Finally Forced to Share

By Noah ShachtmanWIred |The country’s spy agencies famously failed to share information before 9/11. It only took seven years. But now, the nation’s spooks and security bureaucrats will have to start swapping data with their peers, if they want to get promoted.

Starting this fiscal year, “information-sharing skills and behaviors” will now be part of performance appraisals,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. “‘Competencies’ in this area will also be added for specific job categories.”

That goes for folks working in the “Central Intelligence Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Transportation; and the offices of the Director of National Intelligence and Management and Budget.”

Spies were strongly encouraged to swap info before. But in the often-regimented world of civil service, have a specific requirement to share is a big deal. Of course, there’s a right way to trade data, and a wrong way. Veteran spook Michael Tanji lays out how it should be done.

UPDATE: “Phew, now all of our problems will be solved!” jokes former Navy counter-terrorism analyst Jim Arkedis.

Note to current/future employers: Please ignore the following sentences.

If I had a nickle for everything on my DoD [Department of Defense] yearly evaluation that inflated my job performance, I’d be a stinking millionaire. [That’s because] it’s in your boss’ interests to show her/his employees are doing a great job…

To make sure we all looked good, essentially I got to write my own performance evaluation… I’d attend “strategic meetings” at the CIA, I’d detail the “excessive cross-agency product editing,” I’d elaborate the “multitude of interagency conferences” I’d attended.

Does this sound like information sharing to you? …It did to my boss and to her boss. Was it? Sometimes, on occasion.