(Bloomberg) -- When he started at the CIA, Sean Roche recalls how little solid data the U.S. spy agency had on what was going on inside the Kremlin.

"We would look at black-and-white pictures of old men standing on a wall with fur hats on at a May Day parade and try to figure out who was next in the succession and who’s going to croak," Roche, 53, said in an interview, contrasting the relative lack of data during the Cold War with the digital deluge the agency has to sort through today.

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