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Dr. Linda Zall is a retired Senior officer from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Science and Technology (1985-2013). During her career, she contributed to programs on Strategic Technology Assessments and Research and Development applied to CIA’s traditional operational missions, as well as on the National Security impacts of Climate Change. She served as CIA’s representative to the JASON program, and later directed the MEDEA environmental advisory group for the Intelligence Community and the White House. During her tenure, MEDEA drove the first-ever declassification and release to the public of U.S. spy satellite imagery archives (from the CORONA, LANYARD, and ARGON satellite programs); the U.S. Navy’s declassification of huge amounts of their oceanographic data for science, to include their GEOSAT altimetry; and the rescue of millions of Arctic ocean and sea ice observations, collected by Russia, that more than doubled the data available to science.
For over two decades she was the primary liaison around issues of climate change between the White House, CIA, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and others in the national security community, connecting them to key scientists and civil agencies. During the Clinton Administration, she was CIA’s liaison to the U.S. and Russian Bilateral Commission, helping Russia build a parallel process to release their reconnaissance imagery and restricted arctic ocean observations for environmental science.
Prior to government service, she worked in the private sector in the remote sensing industry on petroleum, mineral, and groundwater applications, and on the site selection for the Trans Alaskan Pipeline. She also worked in West Africa in the early days of remote sensing on USAID supported programs.
Dr. Zall was awarded both the CIA Career Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Medal of Merit. She received both her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University.