SpyCast 4.26.22
Ep 536 | 4.26.22

“CIA Case Officer, Cyber Entrepreneur, Burning Man Volunteer” – with Mike Susong (Part 1 of 2)

Show Notes


Mike Susong (Website; LinkedIn) joins Andrew (Twitter; LinkedIn) to discuss CIA, cyber and corporate intelligence. He won the Intelligence Star for Heroism in the Field.

What You’ll Learn


  • The outgrowth of “intelligence” from a nation-state activity to a corporate activity
  • Recruiting and running agents as a CIA case officer
  • His shift from tactical intelligence to strategic intelligence
  • His journey from a curious kid with a short-wave radio to an intel professional


  • Effective decision-making and intelligence
  • The opportunities and challenges of working in different fields and domains

And much, much more…

Episode Notes

What is it like to do intelligence for Uncle Sam and then for the private sector? What is different and what is similar? How did intelligence go from supporting national security decision-making to business decision-making? 

To answer these questions, Andrew sat down with W. Michael Susong for a two-parter. PART I will focus on Mike’s time working for the CIA and in the domain of human intelligence, while PART II will focus on his time in the as an entrepreneur and intelligence leader in the cyber threat intelligence and competitive intelligence spaces.

Mike was a U.S. Army major who completed multiple combat tours and a CIA case officer. He went into the private sector and created competitive intelligence programs for Fujitsu and Ernst & Young, and he was a pioneer in the field of cyber threat intelligence or CTI, creating the first programs for Visa and Pacific Gas & Electric. He is both CISM and CPP certified and a Black Rock Ranger.


Black Rock Rangers are volunteers at Burning Man, an annual event that focuses on artistic expression, spiritual regeneration, and radical inclusion. It culminates in the symbolic burning of a large wooden effigy, known as “The Man.” If you want to explore the event or the ideas that propel it, including its roots in the Californian counter-culture and its Silicon Valley connections, you can do so here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Quote of the Week

"It’s analogous to business. So, there's closers, people who are really the salesman…but then they're not good at the kind of that long-term relationship, reassuring, working over time…And so I would say that there are case officers who are better at spotting and recruiting, and there are case officers that are better at handling." – Mike Susong


Headline Resource




PBR (Projects, Briefs, Reports) 




Primary Sources

*Wildcard Resource*