#013: Spymaster's Prism - Jack Devine


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Hollywood has James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, and Jack Bauer. But the real world has Jack Devine and he has a far more interesting story to tell. The author of Spymaster’s Prism, Jack spent 32 years in the CIA as the Acting Director and Associate Director of the agency’s Global Operations directorate. In those three decades he has led and orchestrated some of the most well known clandestine operations, including providing covert support to the Afghan mujahedeen fighting against the Soviet Union and hunting down drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar. Today he is fighting the next war in the cyber and information domains.

Perhaps no one will ever be more qualified than Jack to talk about strategic thinking and leadership in dynamic environments. In this episode he joins our host, Fran Racioppi, to talk about the history of leadership in an ambiguous world, how to manage a host of various and eccentric personalities, and how the future security of our nation lies in our ability to protect our phones, computers and the information we consume on a daily basis.

Read the full episode transcription here and learn more on The Jedburgh Podcast Website.


-How organizations unify around a common mission, purpose and sense of importance around their work

-The characteristics that make the best spies

-History of the OSS, CIA, Jedburghs and the importance of intelligence in business and national security.

-The different lenses leaders look through based on the experiences of their past.

-The dangers of looking too myopically at our jobs, organizations and goals.

-The importance of information in our problem evaluation and problem solving; and how to remove bias from our decision-making process.

-The rise of insider threats to organizations, the risks posed from the loss of sensitive information, and how to develop controls to combat them.

-The history of traitors within the CIA.

-Tips and methods to manage a team of high performers with unique personalities.

-The future threat of cyber and information warfare and how Russian meddling in US political affairs is on the rise.


-“It’s not that you can mass produce leadership.”

-“To be an effective person you have to think strategy.”

-“Information is what allows leaders to make informed decisions.”

-“You need to have a culture.”

-“Just give me the facts. I may not like them; but I will deal with them.”

-“If you are going to be a leader, people need to say’ he is the real thing’.”

-“If there is no upside to the risk, don’t take it.”

-“It helps to have a persona.”

-“If you strive for mass popularity you might not be able to make the tough decisions.”

-“There were rules; called the Moscow Rules.”

-“We did not meddle in each other’s internal affairs.”

-“Both parties need to come to a position of strength to have a real conversation.”

Jack’s three daily foundations of success

-Take 10 minutes to think about what you are going to do strategically today

-Have a strong handshake

-Never take a picture with a drink in your hand

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