SpyCast 9.26.23
Ep 604 | 9.26.23

“First of Many…America’s First Female Intelligence Agency Chief” – with former NGA Director Letitia “Tish” Long

Show Notes


Letitia “Tish” Long (LinkedIn) joins Andrew (TwitterLinkedIn) to discuss her time as the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Tish was the first woman to be appointed director of an American intelligence agency. 

What You’ll Learn


  • GEOINT & its importance
  • Tish’s recollection of the Bin Laden raid
  • The differences between NGO and NGA
  • Information sharing between spy chiefs


  • The value of mentorship 
  • Being the first, but certainly not the last

And much, much more …

Episode Notes

This week on SpyCast, Andrew is joined by Letitia Long, former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Tish became the first female director of an American intelligence agency in 2010, paving the way for many more women in the years after her tenure. Prior to her career in NGA, Tish served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence. Tune in to learn more about the work of NGA and hear lessons in leadership from Tish’s extraordinary career in intelligence. 

This episode is the final installment of our five-part Spy Chiefs special series. If you haven’t yet, listen in to our episodes with former CIA Director David Petraeus, Former Director of Kenyan Intelligence Wilson Boinett, Irish Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael McElgunn, and former R&AW Special Secretary Vappala Balachandran.  


Among many awards and recognitions from the United States, Tish has also been the recipient of numerous international decorations, including: The king of Norway’s Medal of Merit, the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, and has been appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France! 

Quotes of the Week

“Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, that you're getting that balance, you know, work life balance. And when I say that, I mean many different things because everybody is different. Whether it's family, friends, spiritual, physical, or working out, you’ve got to take care of all aspects of yourself so you're ready to give 110%. Because that's what the intelligence community takes.” – Tish Long.




*Beginner Resources*



  • Geospatial Intelligence: Origins and Evolution, R. M. Clark (Georgetown University Press, 2020)
  • Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, J. Clapper (Penguin Books, 2018)
  • Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, P. L. Bergen (Crown, 2012)



Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*