President of AFIO Gene Poteat discusses American intelligence at IWP

March 31, 2014  |  PAST EVENTS

On March 28, 2014, S. Eugene Poteat, President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and alumnus of The Institute of World Politics, discussed "The Changing Face of American Intelligence: From OSS Special Operations, to Analysis and High Tech Reconnaissance, back to Special Operations" at the Institute. 

About the lecture:

The CIA has responded to changing national security needs. The early CIA, staffed by former OSS men with Special Ops expertise, succeed in countering the Communist subversion of Italy, Greece and Turkey. Political interference however, led to the disastrous Bay of Pigs fiasco. Special Ops were replaced by analysts who sought to inform policymakers on all they needed to know. But without HUMINT, analysts failed to answer the most critical intelligence question of the time, the "bomber and missile gap." Eisenhower answered the question with high tech reconnaissance, beginning with the U-2 and Corona satellites, which also helped in the Berlin and Cuban Missile crises. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by challenges of global Islamic terrorism, American intelligence has returned to an updated version of Special Ops, i.e., integration of HUMINT, analysis, high-tech weapons, such as the Predator, all working hand-in-glove with Special Forces based in Florida.

About the speaker:

S. Eugene (Gene) Poteat is a retired senior CIA Scientific Intelligence Officer. He is President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). He was educated as an electrical engineer and physicist. He holds a Masters in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from IWP. His career in intelligence included work with U-2 and SR-71 class of aircraft and various space and naval reconnaissance systems. He also managed the CIA's worldwide network of monitoring sites. He holds patents on covert communications techniques. His CIA assignments included the Directorate of Science and Technology, the National Reconnaissance Office, Technical Director of the Navy's Special Programs Office and Executive Director of the Intelligence Research and Development Council. He served abroad in London, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Asia. He received the CIA's Medal of Merit and the National Reconnaissance Office's Meritorious Civilian Award for his technological innovations.