Coffee & Conversation with Linda Weissgold

December 19, 2023 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM Virtual

On Tuesday, December 19, INSA held a Coffee and Conversation with Linda Weissgold, Former Deputy Director of CIA for Analysis. In a moderated discussion with INSA VP for Policy Bishop Garrison, Ms. Weissgold discussed the future of Open Source Intelligence. 


Ms. Weissgold discussed various aspects of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) and analytic tradecraft during the webinar. She highlighted the evolving role OSINT played within the CIA and its increasing importance in intelligence analysis. She stressed that good analysis involves creating new insights rather than just reporting facts and underscored the significance of expertise and tradecraft in helping analysts navigate through data and maintain objectivity.

When addressing the challenges of misinformation and disinformation, Ms. Weissgold noted that these issues are exacerbated by technological advancements. She emphasized the importance of critical thinking, validation of information, and the need for analysts to consider disconfirming information.

On the topic of Generative AI, Ms. Weissgold recognized the potential of AI tools streamlining data analysis, automating routine tasks, and providing visualization capabilities but cautioned against relying solely on AI, pointing out the necessity for analysts to explain their reasoning and maintain accountability. 

Closing out the conversation, in response to a question about qualities of a good analyst, Ms. Weissgold called attention to the combination of analytic tradecraft skills and personal values. Intellectual curiosity, continuous learning, bias for action, teamwork, and an understanding of the role in informing policy rather than making it, were highlighted as essential attributes for a successful career in the intelligence community.