Nada Bakos, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, was on the team charged with analyzing the relationship between Iraq, Al-Qaeda and 9/11. During the war, Ms. Bakos became the Chief Targeting Officer following Zarqawi and subsequently a key inspiration for the lead character in the Academy Award nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty" about the capture of Osama bin Laden. After 20 years in the intelligence field and corporate world, Ms. Bakos is currently focused on national security issues, illicit networks and regional stability around the world. As an analyst at the CIA, she wrote and contributed to key intelligence reports from the front lines in Iraq, reports delivered to the White House, Congressional leaders and Department of Defense. After leaving the CIA, Ms. Bakos applied her ability to assess and respond to complex national security issues to identifying business risks for Seattle-based Starbucks Corporate, where she translated these risks into actionable strategic communications plans in support of the company’s global expansion. Ms. Bakos has worked with C-level corporate executives, senior level government officials, and front-line-technical teams to help them understand the business – or security – related context to deploying new processes and technologies.
Ms. Bakos’ began as an analyst in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and later transitioned to the National Clandestine Service, where the spies work. As an analyst, she had the rare opportunity to work with some unbelievably smart and perceptive people, men and women who can discern pertinent pieces of information in volumes of data and make sense of them in a clear and concise manner, working at speeds and under pressures that few others likely experience. As Ms. Bakos’ career transitioned from an analyst to a Targeting Officer following Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, her career path was full of unanticipated and unimaginable possibilities.
As a manager in the Targeting organization, Ms. Bakos’ action arm was quite often the Special Forces teams and the CIA’s targeting teams set up to meet their unique requirements for ‘high value, actionable’ intelligence. Their targeting work focused on compiling “intelligence” collected holistically to create “targeting packages” against specific individuals and organizations vs. whack-a-mole targeting. Unlike previous wars, traditional tactical battlefield intelligence wasn't always actionable, intel had to be rooted out from multiple sources and pieced together. It is here that Ms. Bakos’ unique skill set thrived in mining and interpreting these non-traditional pieces of “intelligence” that eventually played a major role in capturing the most wanted man in history.
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