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CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

In a bid to attract and retain top tech talent, the CIA has announced the formation of CIA Labs, a new venture designed to encourage innovation in "artificial intelligence, data analytics, biotechnology, advanced materials, and high-performance quantum computing,” among other areas, per MIT Technology Review.

How it works: Formed in part because of concerns over a talent drain to the private sector in Silicon Valley, CIA Labs will allow employees to patent their own inventions and keep 15% of the proceeds derived from them, with a maximum salary bump of $150,000 per annum.

  • The new initiative will seek to actively partner with academia and other members of the roughly 300 extant federal research laboratories.

Zoom in: The agency is particularly interested in big data technology that can process information in the field, Dawn Meyerriecks, head of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, told MIT Technology Review’s Patrick Howell O’Neill.

  • “Militaries and intelligence agencies around the world deal in a multitude of sensors like, for instance, the kind of tech found on drones,” O’Neill writes.
  • “The CIA’s own sensors suck up incalculable mountains of data per second, [Meyerriecks] says. Officers badly want to develop massive computational power in a relatively small, low-power sensor so the sorting can be done quickly on the device instead of being sent back to a central system.”

The big picture: CIA Labs joins a constellation of agency-affiliated entities devoted to technological innovation in the service of national security, including the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology and In-Q-Tel, the agency’s venture capital firm, which is based in Virginia and Silicon Valley.

Go deeper

The great power shift

Elon Musk at the Axel Springer Awards on Dec. 1 in Berlin. Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images

America’s entrepreneurial and technology power is dispersing beyond Silicon Valley and New York — a trend greatly accelerated by two Cs: coronavirus and California.

The big picture: Elon Musk is the latest high-profile business leader to bolt from California because of its governance and cost.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.