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Today, the agency's chief operating officer comes by way of investment banking. Business is booming, and to some that seems to be just about all that matters. The CIA now touts the fact that recruitment is way up—2,600 résumés pour in weekly. In one survey, MBAs rank the CIA as the premier government employer and ahead of such private-sector notables as Apple, Intel, and Pepsi.
It is a source of great pride to the agency that customer demand for product— intelligence and analysis—has nearly outstripped capacity. (It bears noting that "customer" in agency argot means the president, the secretary of defense, and the like, not necessarily the ultimate end-user, the nation.) Old customers, like the Department of Defense, can't get enough. New customers, like the Department of Homeland Security, represent pure growth. Afghanistan and Iraq, one CIA official gleefully volunteered, are generating terrific business for Langley, speaking as if they were a welcomed stream of revenue. To hear the CIA tell it, it's been one blowout quarter after another.