The CIA’s operational activities go together with a less publicly notorious, but arguably more effective community of analysts. These analysts are often loosely involved in broader networks of relationships with policy experts in academia and think tanks (many of them political scientists). Most of the work of the CIA is in analyzing information that is relevant to U.S. interests, and ever more of the information that is useful to the intelligence community is “open source” or publicly available, rather than clandestine. The CIA, like other government agencies, has only limited resources, and often supplements its internal expertise with frequent outreach to academic and non-academic experts who might have useful things to say. Finally, the CIA needs to recruit highly skilled analysts, who often have a lot of specialized experience, and could typically earn much more money in the private sector.
The article argues that the recently released Senate CIA torture report will impact the CIA's relationship with the think tank community, and says that academics (and think tankers) will be less likely to want to talk to or with the CIA. [For the record, Think Tank Watch does not think this will be the case, and the CIA will still rely heavily on think tank reports.]
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on former spies who now work at think tanks.