A spy by luck: the case file on CIA's Jeanne Tisinger
CIA Chief Information Officer Jeanne Tisinger
May 25th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

A spy by luck: the case file on CIA's Jeanne Tisinger

Editor's note: In the Security Clearance "Case File" series, CNN national security producers profile key members of the intelligence community. As part of the series, Security Clearance is focusing on the roles women play in the U.S. intelligence community

By Pam Benson

You don't really expect to simply fall into the spy business, but for Jeanne Tisinger, that's pretty much how it happened.

She was a business major at George Mason University, looking for some experience in her field while continuing her studies. She joined the college's work-study program and, much to her amazement, her first interview was with the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I was surprised they were even hiring co-op students," she says. "Why would they want a college kid to come into their version of campus? I wasn't sure what they were going to do with me. Then there was, of course, a part of me that was. wow, the mystique of the CIA - what better place to start. It was just kind of a bit of a wide-eyed wonder."

That was nearly three decades ago.

"I'm the classic story of sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Tisinger says.

She's still with the agency, rising through the ranks to become the CIA's first female chief information officer nearly two years ago. Her job is to oversee the CIA's vital information technology systems and coordinate information-sharing.

Managing IT may not be a traditional spy role, but don't say that to Tisinger. She pushes back on the notion that she's not a spook.

"My DNA is shaped as an intel officer first. So I actually don't see myself as a business major or a technologist, or I should say I don't define myself that way. I see myself as an intel officer. All of us are here to support the intel mission."

Even becoming a CIA technologist had a bit of luck involved. In the mid '80s, personal computers were hardly common place at work or home, but Tisinger was given an assignment to develop a workforce handbook, and one of her tools was this new piece of technology.

"They gave me this PC, I liked it, I was good at it and by the way (there was) no one else around me - there weren't a whole lot of people to compete against in that field."

Being in the right place at the right time led Tisinger down a new career path. "It's good to get in first, to get in early," she says.

It was a growth business with lots of opportunities for a technically proficient officer.

But it was also a male-dominated field.

Women were in a minority and as Tisinger looks back on the early days, she says the environment wasn't as friendly.

"I sometimes felt that there was a sense by some of my bosses that I was only here temporarily rather than in it for the long run."

She tells the story of an incident that occurred after she took her first leadership position.

"I was the chief and I think there was one other woman and, I think, probably five or six men that were on the program. They were all these big, tall guys, way over six feet. I'm like five-two. We were doing a program management review with this particular commercial company and we were in the company's space," she remembers.

"There's a big long conference table. The government (staff) comes walking in and the men are all sitting at the table and I come sit down. And the vendor program manager of the company was just addressing the men of the audience. I'm like, 'Hello, I would be the chief.'"

The lesson Tisinger learned from the incident: "Sometimes you have to assert yourself in more obvious and direct ways."

The CIA had two separate IT systems, one to support overseas posts and another to handle technology for the Washington metro area. In 2000, Tisinger was asked to participate on the team tasked with joining the systems.

"We needed to create one organization and one global network, and basically (create) a mesh community of technology providers that support everyone across the globe."

That meant battling an internal culture, especially among the overseas contingent that liked being separate.

Now that she is the CIO - a position she assumed in July 2010 - Tisinger will use that experience to help out the overall intelligence community.

The spy agencies are not immune to the budget constraints facing the U.S. government as it tries to dig itself out of massive deficits.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said last fall he expects to make significant savings by integrating the community's IT infrastructure. Most of the 16 members of the intelligence community have separate systems.

Tisinger says the intelligence community has vast amounts of data to analyze, and integrating systems will make it easier for the collectors and the analysts to connect with their counterparts.

"It's about lowering the barriers for collaboration and knowledge across the (intelligence community). If you can unify the underlying foundation, that will help."

Tisinger says the CIA will be the principle provider for key portions of the new IT infrastructure.

"Collaborative to a point, and then I make a decision" is the way Tisinger describes her management style. "You can't study it to death. You have to set a direction, approve a plan, execute and adjust."

Tisinger also tries to focus her time on the most important issues not necessarily the most urgent.

"You can't get caught up in the tyranny of the inbox. If you only focus your personal time on the urgent, you'll be a gerbil in a cage. You've got to be able to lift your head up, look out a couple of years and say what are the most important things we need to get done."

Has she ever thought of leaving the organization she never expected to join in the first place? Tisinger says there were a couple of times she considered going to private industry, but didn't.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States became a defining moment for her.

"As I think about my job, as a CIO, it's all about the information we can bring to bear. I can directly tie what I do, what my people do, to keeping this country safe and keeping my family safe," Tisinger says.

"I believe we have a very noble purpose and I find that very motivational. It is something that I genuinely feel, and that is the kind of tugging at the heartstrings of my workforce to make them feel such a critical part of the intelligence mission. It's a good career."

soundoff (952 Responses)
  1. 500000Scrapebox CommentBacklinks

    1500 USA Visitors Daily For 30 Days From Niche Targeted Organic Traffic From Google: https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/840816/1500-USA-Visitors-Daily-For-30-Days-From-Niche-Targeted-Organic-Traffic-From-Google


    February 16, 2021 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  2. Ahbzreext

    ace payday loans akron ohio cash advance lenders no teletrack allied cash advance corporate office

    February 16, 2021 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  3. Jbnvclups

    70 ltv hard money loan florida cash loan rochdale cash advance locations in michigan

    February 14, 2021 at 8:32 am | Reply
  4. Abcfallogegen

    viagra australia female viagra pills australia viagra without percription

    February 13, 2021 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  5. Jbbnreext

    cialis hangi firma forum alfemminile cialis why would women take cialis

    February 13, 2021 at 9:31 am | Reply
  6. zithromay

    zithromax for bladder infection https://zithromaxes.com/ does zithromax treat uti

    February 11, 2021 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  7. chloroquine for lupus

    chloronique https://chloroquineorigin.com/ cloroquine

    February 11, 2021 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  8. generic for plaquenil

    erectile vacuum pump demonstration https://plaquenilx.com/ erectile therapy jordan

    February 11, 2021 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  9. tadalafil gel

    tuf 20 tadalafil https://tadalisxs.com/ tadalafil xtenda 20 mg

    February 11, 2021 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  10. Fqbbreext

    fast cash loans no verification fifth third bank payday advance sunny day payday loans

    February 11, 2021 at 5:16 am | Reply
  11. KvaxVelm

    payday loans oahu payday loans and taxes alternative for payday loans

    February 10, 2021 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  12. Fvfcfiple

    buy viagra overnight shipping canada buying viagra online in netherland,paypal youtube viagra

    February 9, 2021 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  13. KuikTaism

    viagra for cheap on line viagra 100mm buy viagra without prescription

    February 9, 2021 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  14. Lbsxreext

    best 10 online canadian pharmacies cheapest viagra in the world online drugstore pharmacy

    February 9, 2021 at 3:51 am | Reply
  15. Ahkdreext

    compound pharmacy pharmacy online drugstore canadian drugs

    February 8, 2021 at 8:31 am | Reply
  16. Jbnbclups

    canadian rx pharmacy online canadian pharmacies shipping to usa canadapharmacy

    February 7, 2021 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  17. Aqcfallogegen

    generic cialis reviews is online cialis safe cialis online without a prescription

    February 6, 2021 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  18. Loan Wintermantel

    Earn 10000 a Month With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021


    February 6, 2021 at 9:03 am | Reply
  19. Jbbvreext

    navarro pharmacy miami eye drop erectile dysfunction

    February 6, 2021 at 7:50 am | Reply
  20. Zofia Xiang

    Earn $200/Day With Our Secret Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021


    February 5, 2021 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  21. Fqhhreext

    mail order pharmacy Viagra Super Active anti fungal

    February 4, 2021 at 7:51 am | Reply
  22. KbcxVelm

    men's health eye drop canada pharmacies without script

    February 3, 2021 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  23. KbbgVelm

    free viagra coupon Benemid viagra generic prices http://erectilejyzd.com/ – Noroxin ’

    January 31, 2021 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  24. Fhnhfiple

    Verapamil pills viagra pharmacy 100mg Artane https://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/ – cheap prescription drugs ’

    January 31, 2021 at 6:56 am | Reply
  25. Jnscclups

    vigra and viagra where to buy viagra online free samples of viagra http://erectilejyzd.com/index.php?called=terms – viagra 20mg no prescription ’

    January 31, 2021 at 3:13 am | Reply
  26. Ngscfiple

    sildenafil india pharmacy how to get viagra pills cheap generic viagra for sale http://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/Fitness/how-to-get-a-six-pack.html – buy viagra mexico ’

    January 30, 2021 at 3:00 am | Reply
  27. Fmnfreext

    cialis 200 mg. generiac cialis cialis https://impotencecdny.com/info/history.php – 100 mg cialis ’

    January 29, 2021 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  28. Jdbxreext

    viagra online bestellen org purchsse viagra online viagra pills cheap [url=http://llviabest.com/]viagra taiwan[/url] ’

    January 29, 2021 at 7:15 am | Reply
  29. Ahmdreext

    cialis black 800 mg pill house canada pharmacies online prescriptions canada cialis https://impotencecdny.com/ – Cialis Professional ’

    January 29, 2021 at 6:49 am | Reply
  30. Ima Merlan

    I gotta favorite this site it seems invaluable very useful


    January 28, 2021 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  31. Genaro Breckenstein

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more


    January 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  32. KbbtVelm

    cialis professional vs cialis Super P-Force generic cialis express delivery https://xz-pharmacyonline.com – Cialis Soft Tabs ’

    January 26, 2021 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  33. Fbgfiple

    viagra online netherlands viagra like drugs viagra subsitute over the counter https://canadianpharmacy-usx.com/organic.htm – free viagra canada ’

    January 26, 2021 at 12:52 am | Reply
  34. Jnhclups

    mex rx cialis how much is a cialis prescription with no insurance cialisВ® online http://loncialis.com/ – low cost cialis ’

    January 25, 2021 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  35. Lbgreext

    where can i get viagra overnight cheap viagra viagra for penis [url=http://genqpviag.com/]viagra online who takes mastercard[/url] ’

    January 25, 2021 at 3:20 am | Reply
  36. Nmilfiple

    red viagra 200mg buy viagra next day delivery viagra online canada discover card http://xz-pharmacyonline.com/en/career-opportunities.html – viagra interac online ’

    January 24, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  37. Fmfvreext

    buy cialis pils on uk cialis online paypal cialis forum http://sjcialis.com/ – how to buy cialis from canada ’

    January 24, 2021 at 8:38 am | Reply
  38. Ahmdreext

    buy cialis via pay pal cialis cheaper how much is cialis in canada http://cialmenshoprx.com/ – no prescription canadian cialis ’

    January 24, 2021 at 12:08 am | Reply
  39. Bert Hissom

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more


    January 22, 2021 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  40. KbctVelm

    cialis southafrica cialis20mg online buy cialis http://mycialedst.com/ – cialis nex day delivery uk ’

    January 22, 2021 at 8:44 am | Reply
  41. Jvcbxclups

    can you buy cialis without a prescription cialis generic cialis uk http://phrcialiled.com/ – where can i buy cialis ’

    January 21, 2021 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  42. Fbdhfiple

    geneneric cialis aus pharmacy cialis no prescription cialis for daily use cost http://21cialismen.com/ – cialis 20mg for sale ’

    January 21, 2021 at 5:12 am | Reply
  43. Lcxreext

    where do you buy viagra in melbourne viagra without pprescription viagra in sydney http://genqpviag.com/ – viagra usa ’

    January 20, 2021 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  44. Nlbxfiple

    generic of cialis cialis generic generic cialis (tadalafil) 20mg http://cialijomen.com/ – cialis canada purchase ’

    January 20, 2021 at 1:33 am | Reply
  45. Jbdcreext

    viagra suppliers canada viagra online mexican pharmacy generic viagra http://llviabest.com/ – viagra triangle chicago ’

    January 19, 2021 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  46. Aqbvreext

    viagra cheap generic cialis what is generic viagra? viagra pills original http://acialaarx.com/ – delhi, india viagra ’

    January 19, 2021 at 5:18 am | Reply
  47. KlioVelm

    suppliers of generic viagra viagra from canada buy viagra no prepcription order viagra with paypal viagra canada by paypal cheap viagra in the usa viagra alternatives reviews viagra/cialis brand viagra viagra new zealand buy online viagra australia 365 pills viagra cialis & viagra how much is viagra at walmart pfizer viagra

    January 17, 2021 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  48. Jvcxclups

    melbourne viagra viagra sale buy viagra cheap online australia viagra for sale online buy viagra online mastercard viagra on line singapore viagra sample viagra for sale viagra for sale buy gerneric viagra viagra pills with mastercard purchasing 50mg viagra viagra soft tabs 100mg viagra generic date suppliers of generic viagra

    January 16, 2021 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  49. Fgnhfiple

    price viagra viagra canada overnight viagra without a prescription viagras head office in toronto levitra vs viagra reviews viagra 150 mg viagra with dapoxetine how can i buy viagra online australia generic viagra mastercard order viagra sydney australia online viagra pay pal generic viagra prescription free next day viagra delivery usa womens viagra viagra genric

    January 16, 2021 at 4:41 am | Reply
  50. Nlbxfiple

    viagra act buy viagra generic online australia generic viagra viagra cheap viagra usa viagra paypal generic viagra on line viagra best price how can i get free viagra viagra vor sale uk viagra from canada paypal australia viagra online sales viagra time of action viagra 50 mg canada drugs viagra and cialis

    January 15, 2021 at 1:00 am | Reply
  51. Jlloclups

    canada drugs online pharmacy rx one best drugstore primer

    January 12, 2021 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  52. KhthVelm

    nearest drug store canadian pharcharmy pharmacy online

    January 12, 2021 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  53. Fgvdfiple

    canadian pharmacies online mexican pharmacy online pharmacy canada

    January 12, 2021 at 1:55 am | Reply
  54. Miquel Ashman

    bar stools that are made from stainless steel are the best because they don’t tarnish often’


    January 11, 2021 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  55. Lokureext

    the peoples pharmacy pharmacy coupons specialty pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 4:36 am | Reply
  56. Nllpfiple

    mens ed pills http://pharmacy-onlineasxs.com/ mexican pharmacy online

    January 10, 2021 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  57. Jtmfreext

    california pharmacy canadian drug pharmacy my canadian pharmacy

    January 10, 2021 at 2:21 am | Reply
  58. Fwsxreext

    canadian online pharmacies drugs from canada pharma

    January 9, 2021 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  59. Aqwsreext

    best canadian pharmacy save on pharmacy canadian pharmacies online

    January 9, 2021 at 10:21 am | Reply
  60. earn passive income in 2021

    MONSTERMODE 700K is a cutting-edge funnel-based app that can generate 100 commissions – – 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 FREE Multi-Tier Traffic Built In More details: https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC


    December 26, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  61. Gene Burdo

    It’s not that I want to copy your website, but I really like the design and style. Could you let me know which theme are you using? Or was it tailor made?


    December 20, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  62. Fhsnfiple

    buy viagra in malaysia trial size viagra overnight viagra 50mg 100mg

    December 17, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  63. Fgnsfiple

    buy black cialis cialis store in qatar where to buy cialis

    December 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  64. Jgsvclups

    best price for generic viagra buy viagra usa indo viagral

    December 12, 2020 at 9:15 am | Reply
  65. Fgrsreext

    best viagra sale sites viagra australie the truth about super viagra

    December 12, 2020 at 7:55 am | Reply
  66. Fbsbreext

    buy cialis blog usa selling cialis in us cialis, generic

    December 12, 2020 at 6:03 am | Reply
  67. detectives privados extremadura

    detectives privados almuñecar


    December 12, 2020 at 1:47 am | Reply
  68. KhedVelm

    viagra without perscription viagra free trial viagra chea

    December 10, 2020 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  69. Fqbfreext

    10 mg generic cialis buy cialis online cialis discount pharmacy

    December 9, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  70. Dvncfiple

    chinese cialis cialis buy info/ cialis sales in victoria canada

    December 9, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  71. Fgsfiple

    writing a psychology research paper essay on why i want to go to college college essay form

    December 3, 2020 at 1:45 am | Reply
  72. Fnsbreext

    research argument essay homework helpers chemistry thesis statements for essays

    December 3, 2020 at 1:30 am | Reply
  73. Fsfreext

    writing essays online homework center writing the doctoral dissertation

    December 1, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  74. Ftghreext

    help me with my homework quotations for essay my first day at college argumentative essay thesis statement

    December 1, 2020 at 2:02 am | Reply
  75. Jgscclups

    law dissertation writing college homework pay for someone to do homework

    November 30, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  76. Dvscfiple

    persuasive essay for kids writing a research paper in apa college essays medicine

    November 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  77. Fqfreext

    custom dissertation writing the best college essay college essay themes

    November 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  78. KwgdVelm

    writing the college essay worksheet creative writing essay homework help websites

    November 29, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  79. Fnrhreext

    viagra usa viagraonline viagra without

    November 29, 2020 at 6:14 am | Reply
  80. Fdbvfiple

    how much is female viagra pill viagra how to get a prescription buy female viagra pills in india

    November 27, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  81. Fnrdreext

    herbal viagra gnc viagra free samples use paypal to buy viagra

    November 27, 2020 at 10:10 am | Reply
  82. erectile dysfunction

    erectile injection video
    erectile after prostate surgery
    erectile ointment

    November 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  83. Fmsgreext

    farmacias donde comprar viagra viagra z afganistanu taking viagra with asthma

    November 25, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  84. Jsweclups

    120 mg sildenafil where to purchase over the counter viagra viagra best price usa

    November 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  85. Dbsffiple

    can you buy viagra without a prescription viagra for women price viagra no prescription canada

    November 24, 2020 at 9:40 am | Reply
  86. KbrgVelm

    buy viagra online legally viagra 5mg price viagra 10mg price

    November 24, 2020 at 6:38 am | Reply
  87. 魔兽世界欧服金币


    November 27, 2015 at 5:37 am | Reply
  88. circuit au vietnam

    I just couldn't leave your web site prior to suggesting that I really loved the standard info a person provide to your visitors? Is gonna be again ceaselessly to inspect new posts

    August 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  89. taobao

    I happen to be writing to make you understand what a wonderful experience our princess went through visiting yuor web blog. She realized too many things, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess an incredible teaching style to make the rest without problems understand various very confusing topics. You undoubtedly surpassed visitors' expected results. Thanks for supplying those warm and helpful, trustworthy, revealing not to mention unique tips on your topic to Tanya. taobao

    June 8, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  90. Scott T. Duff

    "oh dear"...por-e-believien" today's thy cast, today we knew...How far do we dance? How far do we knew? Por-a sacasen? Drew a wonm bat? Oh dear, but please give me time. B-ecause, thes days are thy last. Singing...Joying....and crafting, is only in your future. "O', please be mine, for today we last...ple-singer?
    See....not that bad. It should ring your "bell", a little bit. Theesss? Well, anyway I guess I'l write on a different topic.
    These days are not the Holeucoust. These days' are just as finished as they were yesterday, today true. But as a new nationalism, that we must, we'll see "the" new con-dem-tation. Just as rules applies here, they apply there. But", as you would tell, we'll see the true light...eventuaily ( Re-'erasoi–er asd")–Russian, sweet dear::
    But, don't forget the promise of new love...And turn over the documents..."Today"--
    Sincerely, Dr. Scott T. Duff-–(Well, you don't understand Admerial)

    June 4, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
  91. Loretta Anakin

    It is good that she figured out how to consolidate the computer systems but America needs to stop being stingy and go back to spending on our spies and infrastructure and MAKE the rich actually pay their taxes to support needed government agencies including programs for the poor. The super rich got the most out of America so they should put some of that wealth WITH GRATITUDE back into America. This greed is UN-American and is Killing America. Someone needs to step up to the plate and heal our land. The first step would to SPY out what went wrong in the first place than fix it.

    June 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
    • Ann Smiley

      Cuban director of Operations of DGI was successfully wooed by the CIA for a mere plane ticket to Florida. He fends for himself despite 5 assassination attempts on him. If he was worth 10-20 million I won't mind for CIA has saved 100 million in electrical bills, gasoline bills and most of all manpower which today is worth 1 million dollars each in workmen's compensation. Think hard my dear!

      June 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  92. Mike in Detroit

    Interesting that the CIA is reaching for efficiency in their department and combining systems. I read (hear) all the time on the more Conservative radio talk shows that the US Government is whacking the budgets of our Intel and Military, but in light of the enormous money saving efforts that result in consolidation of systems, I wonder how much merit to place on the talk show's banter.

    Good read – actually was looking for daily travel alert summaries by countries and thought it was on the CIA's website.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:54 am | Reply
  93. Ann Smiley

    It would be a heavy burden for somebody working diligently in the CIA when she also has to deal with workplace gender biases. Just do your work. You are paid to do it without malice aforethought. The best place for these people especially if they're busted Russian or Cuban spies are in Guantanamo!

    May 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  94. josegabriel ma---------


    May 29, 2012 at 1:06 am | Reply
  95. josegabriel ma---------


    Fotos de portada
    De: Central Intelligence Agency( Cia.Gov)

    May 29, 2012 at 1:04 am | Reply
  96. josegabriel,codename,jamesmartbond


    May 29, 2012 at 1:01 am | Reply
  97. josegabriel,codename,jamesmartbond


    May 26, 2012 at 9:13 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Reply to bucket truck repair near me


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.