CIA suffering James Bond envy?

From "Jennifer and Kevin Mccoy" <>
Date Thu, 30 Sep 1999 10:45:27 -0400

Title: CIA suffering James Bond envy?
CIA suffering James Bond envy?
By Reuters
September 29, 1999, 6:00 p.m. PT

WASHINGTON--The CIA said today that it has set up a company  headed by a computer-game whiz to stay on the cutting edge of information  technology advances.  

  The Washington-based venture capital company, called In-Q-It, takes its  name from "Q," the Ian Fleming-created master gadgeteer who supplied the  fictional James Bond with lethal wizardry. The two other parts of the name  stand for Intelligence and Information Technology.  

  Unlike its Langley, Virginia-based sponsor, In-Q-It will recruit far from  bars, back alleys, and exotic bazaars, turning instead to the burgeoning  crop of Silicon Valley high-tech start-ups.  

  The fund was formed to give the CIA a pipeline to the best  information-technology talent to solve the most pressing intelligence  problems, said William Harlow, the agency's chief spokesman.  

  CIA director George Tenet said the unprecedented rate  of technological change "dictates a change in the way the intelligence  community does business."  

  "In-Q-It answers this challenge by creating an innovative engine for the  community to work together with individuals, industry, and academia to  explore new and unconventional approaches to common problems," he said in a  statement put out by In-Q-It.  

  In-Q-It will invest in start-ups or partner with others to help solve the  spy agency's information-processing needs, said Gilman Louie, the  39-year-old president and chief executive of the new company.  

  "Our first job is to find out what exists today," he said in a telephone  interview. "We're going to create a baseline of today's best technologies."  

  Louie, former chief creative officer of Hasbro Interactive, said In-Q-It  will be structured "in a way that will be familiar to many of the  information-technology companies we hope to attract as partners." He said  he plans to eventually hire 20 to 30 people.  

  IPO options
  As in a normal private-sector business model, this will create "spin-off  value" for those working with In-Q-It, who can then take products back to  market.

    The company plans to leverage its investments to help the CIA in four basic  areas: integrating Internet technology into work groups; developing  information security products; creating tools to help the CIA mine its vast  data banks; and modernizing the agency's many computer systems.  

  The CIA put up $28 million in "seed money" from funds appropriated by  Congress last year to finance the creation of In-Q-It, Louie said. He said  it was incorporated as a nonprofit under Internal Revenue Service Section  501(C3).  

  Louie's background is emblematic of Silicon Valley, the fast-paced,  entrepreneurial world that the CIA is hoping to tap to keep it more closely  tied to the Internet revolution.  

  He made his name creating video games, including the Falcon air-combat  simulator, beloved by computer buffs worldwide.  

  Louie--who describes himself as a fourth-generation Chinese-American and  son of a WWII veteran of the Army Air Corps--started his first company on  his mother's dining room table when he was a 22-year-old student at San  Francisco State University.  

  Last year, he sold his computer gaming company, Microprose, to toy giant  Hasbro. Harlow said Louie was elected CEO by the board of the new venture,  which was incorporated in February.  

  "He's a great choice," Harlow said. "He brings great technical expertise,  start-up experience, and understanding of the Silicon Valley."  

  Lee Ault, former CEO of Telecredit, is chairman of In-Q-It's board of  trustees. Other members include John Seeley Brown, chief scientist, Xerox;  Michael Crow, executive vice provost of Columbia University; Stephen  Friedman of Marsha & McLennan Capital; Norman Augustine, chairman of  Lockheed Martin; and William Perry, former secretary of defense.   

    Story Copyright  1999 Reuters Limited. All rights  reserved.