Maureen Baginski

Posted: October 26, 2008 in Cryptology, Cultural Intelligence, FBI, First in Her Class, Hired Guns, National Security

Maureen Baginski is a distinguished member of this Agent’s favorite tribe of dames: cryptologists. After a long and successful career at the NSA, Baginski left to take on the world of domestic intelligence clean-up at the FBI as the first Executive Assistant Director of Intelligence.

Baginski (1953-), who graduated from college with degrees in Slavic Studies specializing in Russian literature, joined the NSA in 1979 in an effort to pay the bills. She began as a Russian language instructor at the National Cryptologic School and through the decades, was assigned to a good deal of management posts including the NSA’s 24-hour Watch Center.

Baginski is known for a career of calling it like it is and suggesting reform from within. In 2003, Robert Mueller of the FBI tapped Baginski to enter their ranks and reform the way the bureau handles domestic intelligence from top to bottom.

Now let’s all step back a moment and consider this. Reform the FBI. Baginski was a career NSA gal and while intelligence agencies have certain things in common, Baginski was moving over to an entity where she didn’t speak the proverbial language and had to learn and understand the culture right quick in order to be effective.

And of course the question is always posed: what does “culture” have to do with anything? Every business, school, neighborhood, or in this case, government entity, has its own unique culture unto itself. Culture being defined by a dictionary as: the behaviors and beliefs, characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group, or the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

The FBI has operated as a law enforcement agency since its inception. It is a very male dominated, gun-loving place where intelligence analysis is a side dish of peas to the pot-roast of busting bad guys. To change the culture, the mindset of a nearly 100 year old institution, is no minor undertaking performed with one’s Easy-Bake Oven. To accomplish this task, Baginski is using nothing less than a Viking professional series range with dual fuel capacity…metaphorically speaking that is.

The end result? Well, that would be classfied now wouldn’t it? The old addage that successes go uncelebrated while screw-ups suffer very public indignities does apply. And in the five years since Baginski took the post, it’s been very quiet on the FBI homefront which I am sure we can all agree is very good thing.

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Comments
  1. Garnet Spy says:

    Ms. Baginsky hasn’t been with the Bureau for several years. She’s now President of National Security Systems at Sparta, Inc.

  2. girlspy says:

    Good to know, thanks for the update!

  3. rmhitchens says:

    I had occasion to meet & talk with Maureen Baginsky a few times in my career; she is indeed a class act. Like most of my colleagues who knew her, I had little hope that she — despite her formidable abilities — could make much headway reforming the Feebs.

  4. Garnet Spy says:

    I worked for Mo. One of the best professionals I’ve known in over 30 years in the business

  5. […] be named the CIA’s first female director – see her profile from her NSA days here, but a much more engaging and personal profile on the delightful site “GirlSpy,” which profiles women in intelligence past and […]

  6. […] seems to be about equal opportunity employment, breaking barriers, etc.  Baginski is a career NSA gal who was tapped by FBI Director Robert Muller to reform the FBI’s handling of domestic […]

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