SpyCast 12.13.22
Ep 568 | 12.13.22

“Spying and Start-Ups” – with former Assistant Director of the CIA John Mullen

Show Notes


John Mullen (LinkedIn) joins Andrew (Twitter; LinkedIn) to discuss his life and career. He was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.  

What You’ll Learn


  • How John was recruited 
  • Life as an adrenaline addict in the CIA
  • Case officers vs. entrepreneurs
  • How China spies on corporate America 


  • Atlantic vs. Pacific outlook
  • Quantum

And much, much more…

Episode Notes

The Pacific Theater of WWII was imprinted on John Mullen as a young boy. He grew up in Seattle on the West Coast and had family members who remembered Boeing factories under camouflaged nets. He had two family members who were killed in that theater in the 1940s. 

John went on to have a stellar CIA career - but one that always had an eye to the East. He went on the become the Assistant Director for Asia and the Pacific, leading all clandestine activity across this huge region, and spent time as a CIA Station Chief in the Far East. He has since co-founded his own firm and is currently engaged in protecting innovation at Strider Technologies as an Executive Vice President. 

Ever wondered what it’d be like to join the CIA or to leave it to work in corporate America? 

I have a feeling John might be able to help…


Business intelligence, competitive intelligence, product intelligence, workforce intelligence: in case you haven’t noticed – intel is everywhere these days! 

Quote of the Week

Honestly, in my 30 years, at CIA, there were probably less than two handfuls of days. I woke up and wasn't excited about going to work. – John Mullen.



*Andrew’s Recommendation*

  • The Pacific War, WELT (2021) [documentary]

*Beginner Resources*




  • China Unbound: A New World Disorder, J. Chiu (House of Anansi Press, 2021)
  • Quantum Computing for Everyone, C. Berhardt (MIT, 2020)
  • Chinese Espionage Operations and Tactics, N. Eftimiades (Vitruvian Press, 2020)
  • Spies for Nimitz: Joint Military Intelligence in the Pacific War, J. Moore (Naval Institute Press, 2004)
  • In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, J. Gribbin (Bantam Books, 1984)



Primary Sources

*Wildcard Resource*

  • The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 26 military cemeteries and memorials in 17 different foreign countries around the world that honor Americans that served in World War I and World War II. If you have a family member buried abroad, you can utilize ABMC’s Burial Search to locate their records.