Spy moms unite
Nada Bakos at work in Iraq
May 12th, 2012
08:18 AM ET

Spy moms unite

By Suzanne Kelly

Nada Bakos used to go work with a Glock strapped to her thigh. The former targeting officer for the CIA started her intelligence career as an analyst in 2000. But then September 11 happened.

"Everybody's life changed," said Nada Bakos, who, like many other women who were serving as analysts prior to 9/11, moved to the counterterrorism and eventually made the switch to the operations side, which meant she wasn't just analyzing the data on the bad guys, she was going after them.

She didn't yet have a family when she accepted her assignment as a targeting officer in Iraq, working alongside special forces in the hunt for the now-deceased terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She won't share the details of exactly what she did to help find him, but she saw definite advantages to being a woman in the arena, noting that she sometimes had a very different experience than her male counterparts when it came to working within the norms of the culture.

"I got a completely different response than the men did," said Bakos, describing one particular effort to gather information. "How is a 26-year-old white male gonna walk up to a woman in the Middle East and say 'Hey, why don't you talk to me?' "

After a couple of years, Bakos realized that she knew more about Zarqawi than she did about many of the other men in her life. That, in part, was a wake up call to do something more:  She wanted to start a family.  But she was deep into her career on the operations side. That was a problem."The difference between men and women is that it's really hard for women to live the lifestyle of a case officer," said Bakos. "If you have a significant other, it's hard for you both to be employed. I was 37 then and I can't really say, 'Hey, let's interrupt your career and you can carve out what you need."

At least 160 other women feel her pain. Women from the CIA, the National Security Agency, Naval Office of Intelligence and dozens of other agencies met last week in a hotel conference room in McLean, Virginia, to try and find a better way.

The "women in national security" conference was sponsored by Working Mother Media. Carol Evans, president of that group, noted the unique environment in which these women compete.

"These women work in a very unusual industry," said Evans. "National Security is still a very heavily male industry and many of these women as they will say throughout the day, are oftentimes the first in their field to be a woman - the only person in the room who's a woman.  So when we bring women together in an industry like this, they just feed off of each other, they catch each other's energy, and they build relationships."

And relationship-building while navigating a career in intelligence and national security is key, according to Letitia Long, the only female director of any of the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the intelligence community in this country.

Long, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spoke at the conference. She insists that work-life balance is something she has to work at every day.

"I'm passionate about what I do, so I often want to stay to do that last e-mail or sign that last memo, or ensure that I'm prepared for the next day.  But we do have to remind ourselves that if we are going to be at the top of our game, if we are going to be rested and ready to lead, we have to take that step away and ensure we are keeping that work life balance," Long said in an interview with Security Clearance.  "These are some of the stressful, some of the most stressful positions that are in the work force and if we are able to balance this, then perhaps there are some secrets that we can share with others so that they can balance also."

Long said that part of the stress is dealing with a culture at the agencies that needs to change.

At the agency Long heads, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, women make up about 31% of the workforce, and the attrition rate is slightly higher than that of men. As director of the Agency, Long feels that balance has to change if the country is going to build a stronger, more diverse, national security workforce.

"I do notice that women bring a different perspective when we're talking about the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and our core mission, of GEOINT, as men and women are looking at imagery, they see things differently," said Long.  "We all are a product of our background and our upbringing and women will just tend to notice different things in an image than men will.  Or if we're looking at pattern of activity, they might notice something that a man might not and vice versa.  A man will notice something that a woman will not, because they don't see it as important or they don't see it as relevant, yet something that's not relevant today, might be relevant tomorrow."

The Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, David Shedd, agrees. With women making up close to 35% of his employees, he sees the distintive advantages of finding a workforce more in balance when it comes to women.

"Women as a rule tend to have stronger intuitive skills and in the world of intelligence, where you are often dealing with less than perfect information, that intuitive nature is important," said Shedd. "Men tend to be more fact-based."

Shedd also offered advice to the women attending the conference. When a woman from the NSA stood up and told him that she personally struggles with how effective she is at her job because when she makes an unpopular decision, instead of being seen as a strong leader, she is referred to as a word that rhymes with 'witch,' he agreed that some misperceptions still exist.

"As a man, I can tell you when no women are around, men still say that type of woman, you used the 'witch' word, but the man, he's just strong-willed and strong-minded," said Shedd. "I am very familiar with that. Changing the culture is critical."

Shedd advocates for women in intel to build a strong team of mentors and then to call on them often and to set clear goals, not being afraid to show their ambition in finding what comes next in their careers.

Bakos, the former spy mom with the Glock, is on that path now. She retired from the Agency  and is looking for consulting work.

She still feels like she has much to offer. "I think there has to be a better way," said Bakos, who advocates for changing the culture within the intelligence community, to help allow women to live both lives.

soundoff (1,419 Responses)
  1. Movies

    Hi there! I just wanted to aask if you ever hav any trouble with
    hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked andd I ended up losing a few months
    of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any
    solutions too prevent hackers?

    May 15, 2021 at 11:59 am | Reply
  2. Cheapest Contact Lenses

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog articles.


    May 15, 2021 at 11:55 am | Reply
  3. Area Rug Cleaning Spokane

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:29 am | Reply
  4. Roofer Raleigh NC

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.


    May 15, 2021 at 10:58 am | Reply
  5. homes for sale hayden lake

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be helpful to read articles from other writers and use something from other websites.


    May 15, 2021 at 10:28 am | Reply
  6. Sell my home fast Jacksonville FL

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful


    May 15, 2021 at 9:47 am | Reply
  7. Richardaging

    песни бесплатно mp3

    May 15, 2021 at 9:39 am | Reply
  8. Locksmith Las Vegas

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.


    May 15, 2021 at 9:17 am | Reply
  9. Go Pro Locksmith Palo Alto

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    May 15, 2021 at 8:57 am | Reply
  10. gutter replacement and repair Hainesport

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    May 15, 2021 at 8:37 am | Reply
  11. Area Rug Cleaning Spokane

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    May 15, 2021 at 8:17 am | Reply
  12. Fence company Baton Rouge LA

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up


    May 15, 2021 at 8:00 am | Reply
  13. property for sale sandpoint idaho

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!


    May 15, 2021 at 7:53 am | Reply
  14. AC Repair Warrenton VA

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.


    May 15, 2021 at 7:44 am | Reply
  15. Locksmith Texas

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.


    May 15, 2021 at 7:28 am | Reply
  16. Karate Crofton MD

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    May 15, 2021 at 7:01 am | Reply
  17. payday loan consolidators

    very nice! Ireally like your blog


    May 15, 2021 at 6:10 am | Reply
  18. realtor near me now

    I blog often and I really thank you for your content. Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    May 15, 2021 at 5:02 am | Reply
  19. indoslot

    Great goods from you, man. I have take into accout your stuff prior to and you're simply extremely
    fantastic. I really like what you have received right here, certainly like what you're saying
    and the best way through which you are saying it.
    You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to
    stay it smart. I can't wait to learn much more from you.
    This is really a tremendous web site.

    May 15, 2021 at 3:15 am | Reply
  20. the truck shop orange


    May 15, 2021 at 3:12 am | Reply
  21. Maserati Suv Price 2017


    May 15, 2021 at 2:42 am | Reply
  22. home for sale rathdrum id


    May 15, 2021 at 1:33 am | Reply
  23. rv repair and service near me

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    May 14, 2021 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  24. rv parts in san diego


    May 14, 2021 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  25. Cinema

    I need to to thank you for this great read!! I definitely loved every bit of it.
    I've got you book marked to check out new things yyou post…

    May 14, 2021 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  26. Money

    Your way of explaininbg all in this article is truly good, every one be capable of without difficulty understand
    it, Thanks a lot.

    May 14, 2021 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  27. Used Maserati Convertible


    May 14, 2021 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  28. houses for sale sandpoint idaho

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your site.


    May 14, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  29. Maserati Plowman


    May 14, 2021 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  30. cara daftar idn poker

    Ahaa, its good conversation regarding this piece of writing at this place at this web
    site, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

    May 14, 2021 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  31. homes for sale hauser idaho


    May 14, 2021 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  32. Richardaging


    May 14, 2021 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  33. Vision Centers Near Me

    Excellent blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 14, 2021 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  34. houses for sale harrison


    May 14, 2021 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  35. beeg me

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 14, 2021 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  36. getting help with loan consolidation

    thanks for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 11:38 am | Reply
  37. Mercedes Sprinter Cowel Panel Rust Repair

    Howdy! This post couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 11:31 am | Reply
  38. oc collision


    May 14, 2021 at 10:54 am | Reply
  39. orange truck shop

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I'll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 9:51 am | Reply
  40. buy bonus

    Bonus buy slots are online slots where you can pay a premium in exchange for instant access
    to their main bonus feature; usually the free spins round.

    Also known as "feature buy"

    May 14, 2021 at 8:24 am | Reply
  41. camper repair places near me

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I am going to send this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 8:11 am | Reply
  42. bán căn hộ mua căn hộ

    Hi to every body, it's my first go to see of this web site; this web site consists of
    remarkable and in fact fine information for readers.

    May 14, 2021 at 6:07 am | Reply
  43. Red Van Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 5:24 am | Reply
  44. RV TV Los Angeles

    Good information. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!


    May 14, 2021 at 4:55 am | Reply
  45. horse trailer body parts


    May 14, 2021 at 4:39 am | Reply
  46. motorhome repair shops

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?


    May 14, 2021 at 2:14 am | Reply
  47. 2500 Sprinter Van Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 1:44 am | Reply
  48. camper service near me

    Good post. I'm going through a few of these issues as well..


    May 14, 2021 at 12:05 am | Reply
  49. اكواب القهوة

    Thank you, I have recently been looking for information approximately this
    topic for ages and yours is the best I've found out till
    now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure in regards to the source?

    May 13, 2021 at 11:33 pm | Reply
  50. chartered bus companies near me

    If you want to grow your familiarity just keep visiting
    this site and be updated with the hottest gossip posted here.

    May 13, 2021 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  51. 2021 neco runz

    I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get
    set up? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I'm not very web savvy so I'm not 100% sure.

    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    May 13, 2021 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  52. trailer repair places near me

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I really believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 13, 2021 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  53. Office.com/setup

    Office.com/setup or Setup.office.com is the website/webpage for the activation of Microsoft Office & Microsoft 365.
    Microsoft Office gives limitless advantages with the best
    per-user monthly subscription Plan. visit our website for
    activation here https://offficesetup.com/

    May 13, 2021 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  54. rv supplies orange county

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the site is very good.


    May 13, 2021 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  55. مضاد حيوي طبيعي

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how
    they believe. All the time follow your heart.

    May 13, 2021 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  56. orange county rv dealers

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I really believed you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 13, 2021 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  57. Sprinter Seat Fabric Repair


    May 13, 2021 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  58. ترميم منازل بجدة و شركة ترميم منازل بجدة و افضل شركة ترميم منازل بجدة و شركة ترميمات عامة بجدة و شركة ترميم فلل بجدة

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don't know who you are but definitely you're going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    May 13, 2021 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  59. window repair orange county

    That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 13, 2021 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  60. https://www.mixcloud.com/keonhacaiplus3/

    Great site. Plenty of useful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious.

    And naturally, thank you for your effort!

    May 13, 2021 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  61. RV Kitchen Los Angeles

    Howdy, I do believe your site could be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, wonderful website!


    May 13, 2021 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  62. mega88

    Greetings! Quick question that's completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My site looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone.
    I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Appreciate it!

    May 13, 2021 at 10:39 am | Reply
  63. RV Steps Riverside

    I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own personal blog and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thanks!


    May 13, 2021 at 9:12 am | Reply
  64. lighting repair near me


    May 13, 2021 at 7:03 am | Reply
  65. rv furniture store


    May 13, 2021 at 5:38 am | Reply
  66. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Mee


    May 13, 2021 at 2:29 am | Reply
  67. how to paint a horse trailer

    It’s difficult to find educated people for this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 12, 2021 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  68. RV Interior Remodeling California


    May 12, 2021 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  69. horse trailer window replacement


    May 12, 2021 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  70. rv vinyl wraps

    After looking at a few of the blog articles on your web site, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and tell me how you feel.


    May 12, 2021 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  71. dashboard repair near me


    May 12, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  72. toy hauler remodel

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    May 12, 2021 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  73. Abortion pill for sale online

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours nowadays, but I never found any interesting article
    like yours. It's pretty price sufficient for
    me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content
    as you did, the web will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

    Feel free to surf to my web page – Abortion pill for sale online

    May 12, 2021 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  74. RV Windows California


    May 12, 2021 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  75. rv supplies orange county


    May 12, 2021 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  76. minecraft free

    Great site. Plenty of useful info here. I'm sending it to several pals
    ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your sweat!

    my web-site :: minecraft free

    May 12, 2021 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  77. Concrete Lincoln NE

    First off I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I'd
    like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to
    find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Many thanks!

    Here is my homepage – Concrete Lincoln NE

    May 12, 2021 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  78. RV Remodel Orange County


    May 12, 2021 at 11:46 am | Reply
  79. california girl pics

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 12, 2021 at 11:18 am | Reply
  80. painting horse trailers

    Good site you've got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 12, 2021 at 8:51 am | Reply
  81. Start Error Mercedes Sprinter Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 6:29 am | Reply
  82. fiberglass repair shops


    May 12, 2021 at 5:41 am | Reply
  83. Michaelsuesk


    May 12, 2021 at 4:40 am | Reply
  84. fiberglass shop near me


    May 12, 2021 at 4:11 am | Reply
  85. semi shop near me

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!


    May 12, 2021 at 2:23 am | Reply
  86. Best Tucker Sprinter Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 2:20 am | Reply
  87. Timothyloada

    Спецтехника в аренду ремонтных работ: Россия Объявления Успехспецтех.

    May 12, 2021 at 1:14 am | Reply
  88. rv glass repair near me


    May 12, 2021 at 12:59 am | Reply
  89. camper restoration near me

    I seriously love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own blog and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!


    May 12, 2021 at 12:10 am | Reply
  90. rv solar near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 12, 2021 at 12:10 am | Reply
  91. RV Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    May 11, 2021 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  92. horse hauler motorhome


    May 11, 2021 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  93. Concrete Lincoln NE

    Please let me know if you're looking for a author for your site.
    You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good
    asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd absolutely love
    to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an email if interested. Thanks!

    Here is my web blog: Concrete Lincoln NE

    May 11, 2021 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  94. Louisville Latino Escorts

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing the
    other person's webpage link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

    my homepage Louisville Latino Escorts

    May 11, 2021 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  95. rv repair fort bragg ca

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the website is very good.


    May 11, 2021 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  96. https://webac.co/www/statvoo.com

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems
    as though you relied on the video to make your
    point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste youjr intelligence on just postjng videos to yohr site when you could be giving us something informative to

    May 11, 2021 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  97. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  98. Google Marketing Specialist

    I love reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!


    May 11, 2021 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  99. gamejersey

    Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the
    same subjects? Many thanks!

    May 11, 2021 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  100. Google Marketing Experts

    I was very happy to discover this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new things in your site.


    May 11, 2021 at 1:21 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to หวย


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.