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Transcript: Kristin Wood talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"

Former CIA officer Kristin Wood and "Intelligence Matters" podcast host Michael Morell discuss the process, substance and value of the agency's analytic work and describe how it is delivered to top policymakers. Wood also discusses the growing importance of open-source data to the intelligence community and explains how an Internet-facilitated "firehose of information" has fundamentally changed the work of the country's intelligence analysts. 

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INTELLIGENCE MATTERS - KRISTIN WOOD

CORRESPONDENT MICHAEL MORELL
PRODUCERS: OLIVIA GAZIS, JAMIE BENSON

MICHAEL MORELL:
Kristin, welcome to Intelligence Matters. It is great to have you on the show.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Michael, it's great to be here. Thanks.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you did many things in your career at CIA, but I want to focus on three of them. I want to talk about what it's like to be an analyst. We've had a lot of CIA operations officers on the show, and not a lot of analysts. And we've never really had a conversation about what's it like to be an analyst every day. So I want to do that. I want to talk about what it's like to be a daily briefer for senior policy makers, which you did.

And I want to talk about the growing importance of open-source information to the intelligence community. Because that's something you did at the end of your career as well, and I know it's something you feel strongly about. So that's what I want to do, if that's okay with you.
KRISTIN WOOD:
I'd love to.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So let's start with briefing. Which is where we first met. I was the briefer for President Bush, and you were the briefer for the vice president's chief of staff and national security advisor Scooter Libby and for the vice president himself from time to time. Did you enjoy being a briefer?
KRISTIN WOOD:
I loved the job. I think I just, as you found, it is the opportunity to take the wisdom of the intelligence community and bring it to national-security problems and dilemmas that administrations are facing. And so it's an incredible privilege and responsibility. But very much feeling like you have this tremendous engine behind you and your job is to bring it to the nation's problems. Fantastic job.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Describe the daily routine.
KRISTIN WOOD:
So I think it depends on the specific briefer in terms of how much lead time they need. But generally, the briefings take place about 7:00 a.m. And depending on the amount of material you need to go through, you backtrack your arrival. So prior to 9/11, I think most of us would get in 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and start reading the material that the operations center had collected overnight. And the president's daily brief, the book. What was in the book, reading all the background material--
MICHAEL MORELL:
Which had been prepared the night before, specifically for the president?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Exactly. And so making sure that we understood what was in the book, we were lucky enough to have analysts come in and explain the products. And then, the specific tailoring that takes place to each senior policy official. So the book was designed for the president, but the vice president, or maybe secretary of defense, might look at it a little bit differently.

So making sure that there's additional information to support their particular missions was a really important part of it as well. And then going down to, in, you know, my case, usually the White House, to go give the briefing and collect their questions afterwards--
MICHAEL MORELL:
How did the briefing work?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So it depended upon where we were. If we were in Washington D.C., generally it was in the White House or the Old Executive Office building. And we'd go in and sit down one on one with senior policy makers. So in the case of Mr. Libby, it would be maybe 30 minutes and you'd go through the book and then they would have a lot of particular interests in other things.

So we used to call it, there's the book and then behind the fold. So the other things, policy things or national security issues that they really cared about, we had the opportunity to give them something more tailored to their interests. And so that really was a conversation--
MICHAEL MORELL:
And that was both other pieces of analysis that were done as well as raw-intelligence information?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Raw-intelligence information and sometimes open-sourced information as well. So it really kind of depended on what was going on issues of the day. We would come back then to report to the building what was said, what questions that came up as a result of the piece. What policy makers thought in terms of how relevant it was. Any feedback we could provide the authors to give them a sense of how much they kind of really hit the mark with the product.

And that's not, "They liked it, "They don't like it." That's, "It's really useful." And I think that was for analysts always the goal, right, is to be as useful as possible for the national security decision makers. After 9/11, that actually changed quite a lot. Because as you remember, we all had to get in much earlier because the stack of things to go through that was collected overnight went from maybe a four or five-inch stack to a foot-high stack. And that also brought with it the responsibilities of a much higher magnitude, right?

The world had changed. And we were under attack. And so I think all of us at CIA and the intelligence community and then us as briefers felt the responsibility even more so, every day, to make sure we put the right information in front of our policy makers so that they could make decisions in time to keep us safe.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So do you have a best briefer story?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Oh gosh. So one in particular that stands out, as you know, Vice President Cheney was at the undisclosed location for quite a long time after 9/11. And the briefings took a lot longer when he was traveling. So for example, going from 30 minutes to sometimes two and three hours. And with the weight of what had happened to the nation, in, as a central piece of that, it was an incredibly demanding and frankly exhausting experience.

So I came out of the briefing, went into the driveway, and -- we were lucky enough to have a driver to take us to and from places. Not because of us, but because of the materials we're carrying. And we started to drive away. And I'm chatting with him, and I all of a sudden see him in the rearview mirror.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Which is the vice president of the United States.
KRISTIN WOOD:
No, this is my driver.
MICHAEL MORELL:
This is your driver.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Looking in the rearview mirror, his eyes bulge out. And he is clearly panicked. And I turn around to see the vice president of the United States of America, his photographer, his doctor, his chief of staff, and his security people running after my car. And the driver puts on the brakes and I leap out of the car. And I'm thinking, "I'm fired. I've said the wrong thing. I forgot something important. I did something so colossally wrong that I'm going to get fired before I even get back." So he says, as he pauses, taking some breaths, "Kristin--"
MICHAEL MORELL:
This is a man with a heart condition.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Yes, that's why the doctor was running too. He says, "Kristin, so-and-so promised me that today you would bring me this document. I need to make some decisions on it today and it's not here." And I said, "You have more than made your point. I will get that for you." And so why that sticks out to me is when we have a commitment to deliver, people notice. And sometimes decisions must be made in a timeline that doesn't fit with having the data ready. He did get the document later in the day, by the way.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Kristin, because history matters, I want to ask you a couple of questions about Vice President Cheney and Mr. Libby. You briefed two people who history sees as having politicized or at least having tried to politicize intelligence. In a briefing context, did you ever see them try to skew an analytic line? Was that your experience with them?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So I guess I approach this question a little bit differently than you've asked it. First and foremost, Vice President Cheney was a politician. And they get to have political views. And he had a very strong political optic on what he thought was happening and who was responsible for what was happening after 9/11; and I think so did Mr. Libby.

They tried very hard to push to say, "Isn't this true?" But they were very aggressive and assertive I think in saying, "Is the world this way?" And they got to be. Our job as intelligence analysts is, it's trite, but it's to speak truth to power. They push very hard because they had their world view.

And I actually thought it was a privilege to be on the other side of that saying, "This really matters. We're making colossal choices about where, are we going to go to war with another country. Why? Was there a role that another country played in the 9/11 attacks?" I didn't find anything inappropriate about it.

I thought it was our job to be very certain about what we told them in terms of, "This is what we know, this is what the data says, this is our confidence in the data." And they had to go and make a decision based on that. So did they want it to be a certain way? Sometimes I felt that. But that wasn't really our job and our responsibility.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Did you ever see us skew analysis to please them?
KRISTIN WOOD:
No. Absolutely not.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Neither did I. Neither did I. Okay. Being an analyst. What's the job? What's an analyst supposed to do? This is for nobody who's ever been in our building and done this. So kind of the basics.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Okay. So I think first and foremost, an analyst's job is to understand what is happening on their particular account. The subject matter that they follow. So as a new officer, there's a huge growth curve, even if someone's gotten a PhD in a subject, in understanding from a classified perspective what additional information is brought to bear on the topic that they understand so well from academic schooling.

The other piece of it is the rigor with which we need to think about and write about and brief about the topics that we're covering. And as a student, there's a responsibility to do that, but the consequences are so different when we're an intelligence officer telling leaders who may make decisions based on this data. So I think the agency does an excellent job, and from the Sherman Kent School, of teaching analysts how to think about their job, how to perform on the job.

And then now with the advanced analysts program, even experienced analysts get additional opportunities to further hone their skills. So the job really is communicating to policy makers what is happening in an account, why it matters, what it means to the United States, why it matters.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And why it is happening and where it might be going from here.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right.
MICHAEL MORELL:
What factors will determine where it goes from here--
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right, absolutely.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And those factors are important because it gives them opportunities to perhaps manipulate those factors and affect the outcome?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Uh-huh (AFFIRM). Absolutely.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Yeah. So did you enjoy being an analyst?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Best job ever. I know I said briefing--
MICHAEL MORELL:
Yeah, but you already said being a briefer--
KRISTIN WOOD:
They're all the best job ever. So I think when being an analyst, from my perspective, was such a privilege. I mean, so I was a political science major, how cool is it that I get to write something that the president of the United States is going to make a decision about? And getting a product in the president's daily brief was just the coolest thing ever.

So, you know, from, like, a geeked-out, political-science perspective, it's terrific. I think the thing that maybe most people don't know is the rigor with which any piece is both conceived and written, and then edited and reviewed by senior officials with maybe a broader perspective on what's going on in my account, for example, my tie-in to something maybe I'm not aware of. Either economic issues or something else.

So I think it's the quality-check effort that happens at every step that I think most people wouldn't be aware of, how committed we all are to deliver something that is as useful as possible to senior leaders.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Yeah, you know, the thrill of it, I remember from being a junior analyst all the way to being a senior analyst, when I wrote a PDB, the next morning, seeing it, right, in print, with the words at the bottom, "For the president's eye's only." Right? That was like, "Wow."
KRISTIN WOOD:
Absolutely.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So the questions you answer as an analyst, where do they come from?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So it depends. Oftentimes, they come from the briefings themselves. A piece will be written for the president, for example, as you saw many times, and it will cause the president or the vice president or another leader to say, "You know, this makes me think, what are the implications of this on another country or another set of issues?" So they're generated by the policy makers themselves. Sometimes they're generated by senior leaders within the agency to say, "Look, I can see what's coming here, we need to make sure we have the administration prepared"--
MICHAEL MORELL:
I never did that. (LAUGHTER)
KRISTIN WOOD:
You might've been a little famous for doing that. Yeah, and usually it was due within about eight hours, so. And then sometimes they're generated by analysts themselves. We can see what's coming, an analyst who has a lot of experience on it, and that account, either knows the cycle of the account or they can see that there's a change coming and they'd need to provide warning to the administration about a new development.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Kristin, what information does an analyst have to do their analysis? And does it come to them from multiple directions? Or does it come to them in one place? How does that work?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So sources of information probably over the course of the career, that's one of the things that change the most. There's definitely human intelligence collected by people who are providing information to the U.S. government. There's signals intelligence, so an opportunity to understand what people are saying.

There is open-source intelligence, and then reporting that we get from media or journals, things like that, that are in the public sphere. So it comes to analysts, and this is where the change is the biggest, right, it used to be probably 20 years ago, that you could read everything on your account in the morning. And then think about it for the rest of the day.

And as social media has exploded, as online media has exploded, and then the just pure amount of intelligence collected otherwise, you end up with way more information than you can possibly read in the course of a day. And so then, the job of the analyst is to make sure that it's being sorted in a way that lets them see trends in data as well as read the data itself. So this is, it's a much more complicated, much more sophisticated problem than it had been, because I can only read so much.

If I can read 1,000 reports a day, that would be a miracle. But if I'm receiving 100,000, we really have got to have data sets and algorithms written so that I can actually make sure I'm seeing really what all of the data says, and let the story it tells, and maybe not read each of them.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Right, right, right. So Kristin, maybe the hardest question of all, so you've got a question that either a policy maker has asked or you've asked yourself as an analyst or somebody in between has asked.

And you have all this information that you've collected. How do you come to a judgment? What is that process like? Is it a black box? And it's really tough to explain? Or is there some methodology around it? I know that's a tough question.
KRISTIN WOOD:
It is a tough question--
MICHAEL MORELL:
And you and I have talked about this a lot, actually.
KRISTIN WOOD:
And I think there's a debate among analysts themselves about what analysis truly is, right? So I think there are several layers to it. First is understanding being current, understanding what's happening in a particular situation. But your first thing is, is it the right question, right? And so sometimes a policy maker would ask a question that isn't going to get them the answer they're actually looking for.

Either it wasn't as nuanced as they might-- it wouldn't get them the sophistication of answer they needed. And so first question is, is this the right question. And if not, how do we craft in such a way that we're going to be providing the information that the policy maker needs. And the second thing is, looking at the data that's available to address the question. How am I going to approach this. What are the key parts and pieces that need to be answered to address the question and look at the data.

So there are all sorts of, if the data is conflicting, if there's something there that, maybe big gaps in data, which happens all the time, right? It's always imperfect knowledge. Then there are analytic tools and techniques that you can use to try to ascertain whether or not you're getting the right answer.

So one of the things I think as an analyst, in particular, we experience a big risk is in confirmation bias, right? Where I understand things so well that's happening, what I look at just confirms where I was coming from. Right? And so--
MICHAEL MORELL:
Which was a problem with Iraq.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Yeah. So the 'disconfirming' information can be thrown aside. And sometimes, as you said with Iraq, WMD, that can be the most important thing that's out there. And so I think on key issues, on shifts, we thought it was going this way, it's now going this way, when it really matters, we're applying one or two or three analytic techniques to it to make sure that we're being really, really true to the data and not being caught up in what we believe.

So all of those are ways of getting at the information. But the other piece of it is, with expertise, with knowledge of these tools and techniques, there's also these flashes of insight that come. And if I'm lucky enough to get one in an issue, that's fantastic. Because it says, "Wow, I need to know at it this way." And then you're looking--
MICHAEL MORELL:
It comes intuitively?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right, absolutely intuitively. And that intuition only can come with experience and insight and if you've done all the groundwork, those flashes can come. They can also lead me astray, right? So I need to then apply the rigor that we've just discussed to those flashes of insight. But those are the magic moments.

When you see something that's happening, then I see something that's happening, I haven't recognized before, we know that this not what the thinking is in terms of the national-security community, and that's just a cool moment. Really a cool moment.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So the review process -- so when you wrote something, it wasn't just Kristin's view, right? It was the CIA's view. So obviously, a lot of people are interested in seeing it, particularly if it's an important issue. So what is the review privilege, what's it like, how do people feel about it?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So are we talking with Michael Morell as part of it or not? (LAUGHTER)
MICHAEL MORELL:
You can do it any way you want.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Okay. I say that because Michael is rather famous for being a tough reviewer. So I think your point at the beginning is the most important part, which is it doesn't matter what I think. It matters what the agency thinks. I mean, what the agency says, this is what we're comfortable with. And so the review process is painful and it should be.

I need to be challenged at every layer of management to make sure that what I am saying on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency really reflects the views of the Central Intelligence Agency. So sometimes, that ends up with very testy conversations with peers, less testy conversations with managers. But everyone is focused on the goal of providing the best product possible to the president. And I think the sausage making on that can be very difficult, but the result is absolutely worth it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So let's take a real-life example here, okay? And I know this is one you can talk about because a lot of this has been declassified. The link between Iraq and Al Qaeda after 9/11. You were the team chief responsible for that issue. You took that job, by the way, after working for me as my executive assistant, I remember. So you were the first-line supervisor for the analysts that were looking at that question. Walk us through that from the perspective of being an analyst.
KRISTIN WOOD:
So that one, that job, I will never forget the responsibilities I felt as part of that. So the question at the time was, 'Did Iraq, did Saddam have a role in supporting Al Qaeda or conducting the 9/11 attacks?' And we looked at it from really three optics. It's, you know, control, direction, and then complicity.

And our responsibility was to investigate, look at all the data that had ever been collected on Iraq's support for terrorism, and then anything more recent related to Al Qaeda, and make an assessment to answer this question in a very difficult political environment, when there was the potential to go to war over the answer.

And so the rigor that we've talked about, applying to agency analysis writ large was even more ratcheted up at an incredible amount. Because the answer is so important. And I think the analysts on my team definitely approached it with that kind of a sophistication and understanding. So we were really looking at leadership, is there a leadership connection, are there contacts between the two. Are they providing training? Have they offered safe haven?

And we investigated. The difficulty was, though, that there's really poor reporting. We just didn't have the intelligence collection that we needed to provide the kind of answers with certainty that we needed to. But at the time, we concluded that there had been some contacts, there was no relationship--
MICHAEL MORELL:
Back in time--
KRISTIN WOOD:
Back in time, yeah. Back in time. There were contacts, but there hadn't been a relationship. That there was no direction of the 9/11 attacks by the Saddam Hussein regime. And that there was no question that they both saw the U.S. as an adversary. But that we didn't see that that led them to cooperate. It was a very difficult process.

So analytically, we talk about the review process. That one, as it should have been, was very, very, very difficult because we wanted to make sure we were speaking for the whole of the agency. And as terrorism analysts, we looked at things a little bit differently than regional analysts. And the priority really for even the counterterrorism center at that point was Al Qaeda itself, not Iraq.

Iraq support for terrorism, though well known, though ubiquitous in the Middle East in many ways, hadn't been what caused the 9/11 attacks. And so we were really a peripheral issue for counterterrorism center. But it was a very central issue for the administration. Some of whom really believed that Saddam Hussein had a role in it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So in retrospect, we nailed this one? We got this right, right?
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right, so--
MICHAEL MORELL:
We got the Iraq WMD wrong, but we got this one right. And people who worked on it should be extraordinarily proud of that.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Thank you. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did a review of prewar intelligence. And I think as an intelligence officer, it's the ultimate report card, you know, how'd you do? And they said throughout all of our judgments, that it was reasonable, objective, and balanced. And I think in that horrible situation, with all of the other things that happened that were very difficult, it was a bright spot.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Okay, Kristin. Let's switch gears for the last time and talk about your experience in the open-source center at CIA. What was your job there?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So my job was leading innovation and technology in the open-source center. So looking at this dilemma that we discussed a little bit earlier of the massive amounts of data that come in, that analysts and officers have to somehow try to understand what it's telling them when you cannot do that on a human scale.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And what did you learn?
KRISTIN WOOD:
What I learned is that the job we used to have as analysts back in the, you know, early '90s was actually a lot easier because you could put eyes on all of the data and understand it. And for analysts who are currently on the mission, they're dealing with a much more difficult challenge of this fire hose of information coming at them.

And the responsibility is to extract meaning from it at a pace that would serve policy makers' and administrations' need to make decisions. And so there's a really vital need to continue to look to the private sector for the analytics tools and the data-mining capabilities to make sure that we're looking at not only what the data says, but what trends it's talking about, where it's coming from, what does it reflect.

You know, sentiment analysis is one of those things that we've been -- it's a holy grail we've been after for years -- is something's happening in another country, what is the population feeling about that? Do they feel strongly enough that there are going to be protests? Do they feel strongly enough that they're going to try to overthrow the government? Or is this something where it's not really a significant development? And chasing that has been difficult.

With so much online video, video storage just from data-storage perspective, we all know from our own computers, you just can't store all of that, even if we have clouds. And then how do you view tens or hundreds of thousands of hours of video?

And so the challenges around capturing the information that come from those sources of information and the open source actually are tremendous. And I think increasingly, a very important part of what an intelligence analyst needs to not only see, but understand in addition to the human-intelligence signals and intelligence that's being collected.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you're talking about the challenge of this massive amount of data as a result of the open-source revolution. But there's also opportunity here, right? There's opportunity to collect things and see things that you can't see otherwise. So--
KRISTIN WOOD:
Absolutely.
MICHAEL MORELL:
--I do know that one of the first indications that the Russians were in Ukraine was from social media, right? Russian soldiers taking pictures of each other and posting them on social media. So there's new information to be found, right? And that's another piece of this.
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right, no, absolutely. New information. But also, it comes with it a different level of credibility. Because if you see a video, for example, of tanks moving into a country, and it's geotagged, so you can see where it was happening, and you can see that it's going east, it's a pretty solid piece of information where--
MICHAEL MORELL:
Even more powerful than a human source telling you, right--
KRISTIN WOOD:
Right. Right, exactly. So the power of it was amazing. It's also a lot less expensive in terms of both financial resources and risk to human life. I mean, to put someone on the ground right there, to witness it would be tremendously expensive and risky. But you actually didn't need to leave your desk in some cases, where you could see what was happening.

So I think one of the biggest challenges that the intelligence community faces now has for a few years and will continue to face in the future, is making sure that we're capturing this data that's available not for free, but for darn close, so that we get what insight we can without having to send someone into harm's way.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So how long since you were in the open-source center?
KRISTIN WOOD:
It's been four years.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And my sense, four years ago, that we were pretty far away from where we needed to be with regard to the issue you're talking about, right? Which is harnessing this open-source information in a way that improves the agency's performance. Why do you think we were so far away? I know you don't know where we are now and what's been done since you left, but why the gap?
KRISTIN WOOD:
So first of all, this is hard. This is really, really hard. And it's new. Not new, social media has been around for a bit. But the importance of open-sourc information has changed significantly over the decades. So if you think about it, open source in the '50s and '60s was really newspaper and video broadcasts and important information to understand context.

But it was the source who was next to a really important senior leader that you could get insight into what that senior leader was thinking, right? So I honestly don't think people took open source quite as seriously as maybe we should have back then. So fast forward all this time, much of what happens is now in the public.

Whether that's leaders tweeting or speaking publicly, whether that's, like, we were talking about the sentiment of a public, social-media platforms. So much more happens now and I think, personal perspective, is I think that that revolution and data maybe caught us a little bit off guard. Maybe not everybody, maybe there were people talking about it, but it didn't really get the attention it needed in part because there are so many other challenges that the intelligence community are facing, right?

We're trying to make sure there's not another 9/11. We're trying to make sure that Russia and China, we're monitoring Russia and China and what's happening there in Iran and North Korea and many, many other areas. And I just think it hadn't gotten the focused attention that it really needed and deserved to be fully developed as the source of information it can be.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Going back four years, if you had been a queen, right, and you could do anything you wanted, what would you have done to have sped up the process? To have sped up the closing of that gap.
KRISTIN WOOD:
So remember, I'm a CIA officer, was first and foremost. I would probably have changed the mission of the open-source center just to support CIA and its mission. So right now, it supports the whole of the intelligence community and DOD and lots of others. And that broad mission makes it very difficult to go deep.

And so I think bringing it to, it's not that large of an organization to bring it to a single mission where you can dig in deep and support the analysis and collection that the CIA conducts. I think that's where it could've been much, much more effective and a powerhouse. I really think it's a powerhouse for the future.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Yeah. Kristin, you've been fantastic with your time. I want to ask you one last question. We've had a lot of former senior women from the intelligence community on and I've asked many of them, you know, what is it like to be a woman in what used to be, not anymore, but what used to be a male-dominated environment. But I want to ask you a different question. You have two amazing sons. I want to ask you how easy the IC and the agency make it to be a mom as an intelligence officer.
KRISTIN WOOD:
So first of all, thank you for the compliments on my sons. They are wonderful human beings. Personally, I don't feel that it was relevant to the senior leaders who I was supporting whether or not I had kids or elder-care issues or a health issue, or whatever it was. It's not that people didn't care, it's that, well, we still have to stop the attack that's coming tomorrow. So you need to stay late.

The only thing is, I think all of us, whether we're parents or not, moms or dads, we just feel this tremendous responsibility to stay. To see it through. To make sure that we ask the right question, that we get the information today to the people who need it. And the mission itself makes it very, very difficult to be there for a family the way we want to be.

It's part of what we sign up for when we join the agency. In the difficult days, with the prewar intelligence on Iraq, and we're trying to decide, "Are we going to go to war with Iraq because it supported the 9/11 attacks?" I needed to be at work. And I would go to work at 6:00, come home at 7:30, I would put my kids to bed, and then, you know, at the time, not anymore, at the time, you could have a secure fax.

And I would have my people fax their papers to me and their products and I would review them until midnight, and then I would fax them back to the operations center and my analysts would pick them up in the morning and we'd start again. So all consuming. And I have to be honest, I still feel some guilt about that today, of the times I missed.

My kids being in the Washington D.C. area were aware of the kind of work that we did. They were children of the 9/11 attacks. They were terrified of Osama bin Laden personally because they saw what happened. And they're at those formative, elementary-school days where, you know, that was really powerful. So I think they are very proud of me for working to serve the American people. But it is kind of nice to have more time with them now as they're a little bit older.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Yeah. You could be talking about my kids and my situation as well. Kristin, thanks for being with us.
KRISTIN WOOD:
00:40:22;06 Thank you for having me, Michael.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

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