Ms. Mahle is a former US intelligence officer and expert on the Middle East and counterterrorism.
As a field operative for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), she worked against many of the key challenges to US national security, including running operations against al-Qaeda terrorists and illicit networks selling weapons of mass destruction. She received a Presidential Letter of Appreciation for her work on the Middle East Peace Process and numerous exceptional performance awards from the CIA for her recruitment of agents and collection of intelligence. Ms. Mahle is the author of the book Denial and Deception: An Insider’s View of the CIA from Iran-Contra to 9/11.
It is a scary world out there. Rogue elements are building weapons of mass destruction in countries in which the US has no official presence. Terrorists from around the world are joining hands and sharing diabolical ways of killing in internet chat rooms. Former foes are expanding their military forces and adopting more aggressive foreign policies, challenging US global dominance – yes, the Russian Bear is back. The rules of espionage are changing, from the new wild west of cyber to miniature drones collecting your bio-metrics. Former CIA official Melissa Mahle will discuss the national security challenges of the 21st Century and what our intelligence community is doing (and not doing!) to get out in front of these steps to stop them before they stop us.
The popular image of women in espionage has been set by Hollywood. How close is it to reality? Are there modern-day Mata Hari’s? Does Alias star Jennifer Garner get it right? Former CIA officer Melissa Mahle will discuss the changing role of women in intelligence at the CIA. Starting from the transition of the wartime footing of the OSS when women were returned to their "appropriate positions" to modern practices, with Mahle drawing from her personal experiences as a CIA field operative.
Let’s cut to the chase – do you think you could be a spy? Espionage is the ultimate sales job – selling treason – without getting caught. Step into the shoes of a clandestine operator. Hear about the daily life of a spy, the ethical dilemmas, the risks and the glory. Hollywood puts a certain glamour on the work of spies. But Hollywood is fiction; experience how real spying is much, much more exciting.