Recently, the CIA has announced the launch of CIA Labs, a new internal research and development initiative that aims to allow agents to develop a cutting-edge technology in-house and then profit from their creations.
The CIA Labs is a member of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer is a broader initiative that helps more than 300 federal agencies, labs and research centers that commercialize the technology they develop.
With this case, the CIA agents can file public patents on intellectual property that they work on and then take a cut of the incomes from commercialization by up to 15% annually for over $150,000 per year. The CIA now keeps the rest of any IP earnings.
From an interview with the MIT Technology Review, Dawn Meyerriecks, the CIA Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Directorate frames the creation of the skunkworks division as an attempt to entice talent that might otherwise head to the higher salaries and perks of Silicon Valley.
Distributed ledger and blockchain technologies are registered as one of the keys focuses on CIA Labs. Still, the division will also focus on technologies like increased and virtual reality, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and wireless and telecommunications tech.
Other US government agencies attempt to cultivate blockchain and crypto-tracing tools; it includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Services (IRS), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but similar attempts from CIA. Now the CIA is aiming to develop blockchain-related technologies in stock, rather than acquire or license them from external firms.
To cut things short, the CIA Labs appears to be casting a wide net presently – but the agency hopes to convince some blockchain and crypto wizzes to join the agency and then do their work for the benefit of the country, instead of a startup or private employer.
Given the massive pile of money that flows through the crypto industry, will the prospect of up to $150,000 on top of an annual federal salary attract the best?