CIA’s New Tech Recruiting Pitch: More Patents, More Profits

America’s most famous spy agency has a major competitor it can’t quite seem to beat: Silicon Valley. From a report: The CIA has long been a place cutting-edge technology is researched, developed, and realized — and it wants to lead in fields like artificial intelligence and biotechnology. However, recruiting and retaining the talent capable of building these tools is a challenge on many levels, especially since a spy agency can’t match Silicon Valley salaries, reputations, and patents. The agency’s solution is CIA Labs, a new skunkworks that will attempt to recruit and retain technical talent by offering incentives to those who work there.

Under the new initiative, announced today, CIA officers will be able for the first time to publicly file patents on the intellectual property they work on — and collect a portion of the the profits. The agency will take the rest of the balance. Dawn Meyerriecks, who heads the agency’s science and technology directorate, says the best-case scenario is that the agency’s research and development could end up paying for itself. “This is helping maintain US dominance, particularly from a technological perspective,” says Meyerriecks. “That’s really critical for national and economic security. It also democratizes the technology by making it available to the planet in a way that allows the level of the water to rise for all.”