"We accomplish our mission as analysts through the skilled use of what I call analytic tradecraft, and a lot of that touches on standards - how to think critically, how to weigh raw information that's often contradictory and almost always incomplete, how to assemble and test arguments, and how to use words and visuals in a concise, clear, and compelling way."

March 29, 2023
Season 2 File 008

CIA's Analytic Chief on the Tradecraft Behind the Agency's Assessments

In this episode of The Langley Files, Deputy Director of CIA for Analysis, Linda Weissgold, joins Dee and Walter to discuss what makes a good CIA analyst, the unusual working hours required to be the President's briefer, and the importance of the Agency's apolitical assessments. Along the way, she shares lessons from her decades-long career with CIA - and what it's like delivering bad news to the most powerful person on the planet.

Look Inside File 008

Want to dive deeper into today’s episode? Here's a look into Langley's (unclassified) files:

Overview of CIA’s Directorate of Analysis and the analytic positions available at the Agency 

Is perhaps the most exclusive publication in the world still delivered on paper? Check out the evolution of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) 

Curious about the women OSS members Linda mentioned? Read stories from the “Sisterhood of Spies”

See the iconic words inside the final President’s Intelligence Checklist (PICL) ever produced by CIA

Want to try your hand at searching out the answer to today’s trivia question? Head over to the CIA World Factbook—where that information, and much more, awaits.