“The 75th Anniversary of the CIA” – with former Director Robert Gates


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Robert Gates (Website; Website) joins Andrew (Twitter; LinkedIn) to reflect on the 75th Anniversary of the CIA. He served 8 U.S. presidents.

What You’ll Learn


  • His reflections on the CIA at 75
  • How the CIA’s story intersected with his own
  • His take on the organization’s strengths and weaknesses
  • The complex intl. environment the CIA must now help America navigate


  • Twists of fate
  • Identity and institutions

And much, much more…

Episode Notes

Robert M. Gates is the first career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry level employee to Director. He spent 27 years at CIA, nine of those at the NSC. More recently, he was the first Secretary of Defense to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. In all, he served 8 presidents.

Wouldn’t you love to know his take on the CIA at 75? Well, we’ve made that happen for you!

He was born in Wichita, Kansas, served in the U.S.A.F. and he received his undergraduate education at William & Mary, his masters from Indiana University, and his doctorate from Georgetown University. He was formerly the President of Texas A&M University and the current Chancellor of William & Mary.


The academic institutions Dr. Gates has been associated with all have quite different capacities of football stadium: Georgetown University’s Cooper Field can hold 3,750; William & Mary’s Zable Stadium can hold 12,259; Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium can hold 52,626; and Texas A&M’s Kyle Stadium can hold a whopping 102,733. What could we infer about Dr. Gates, college sports, or the United States from this information? Well, that would be thinking like an intelligence analyst.

Quote of the Week

"I've led four very big, very different institutions and like all of them I always saw where places where CIA could be better. But I always loved the place, and I always was proud to work there and proud of the people that I knew…they were probably the smartest, most honest people I've ever met and worked with." – Robert Gates.


*Andrew’s Recommendation*


*Beginner Resources*


  • Spymasters: CIA Directors, C. Whipple (S&S, 2020)
  • Duty, R. Gates (Vintage, 2015) [Def. Sec. memoir]
  • A World Transformed, Bush & Scowcroft (Knopf, 1998)
  • From the Shadows, R. Gates (S&S, 1996) [CIA memoir]
  • Power & Principle, Z. Brzezinski (FS&G, 1983) [Gates was Z.B.’s Special Asst. at the NSC during the Carter era]





Primary Sources

*Wildcard Resource*

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