Yaël D. Eisenstat is an American national security specialist and strategist who now works on the intersection of ethics, technology and policy. She was a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, a National Security Advisor to former Vice President Joe Biden, and diplomat. Since 2019, she has been a Visiting Fellow at Cornell Tech, focusing on technology's effects on democracy. From 2017 to 2019, she was an adjunct assistant professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
Eisenstat has worked as a Corporate Responsibility Strategist at ExxonMobil and is currently the head of Kilele Global, a global risk firm. In 2018, she was the Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations at Facebook for political advertising, but left after 6 months when she was not empowered to make changes to the company's policies.
Eisenstat holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis and an M.A. in International Affairs and African Studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
As a former CIA analyst and Foreign Service Officer, Eisenstat has worked in many different government agencies, specializing particularly on national security issues in the Middle East and Africa. For nearly a decade, she has worked in counterterrorism and intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency. From 2004 to 2006, she was a Foreign Service Officer in Nairobi, Kenya, and became Senior Intelligence Officer at the National Counterterrorism Center from 2006 to 2009. In 2009, she was appointed as Special Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden in national security affairs. One year later, she worked as an embedded analyst for the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York. Eisenstat then spent two years working at ExxonMobil in Irving, Texas, as a corporate social responsibility strategist from 2013 to 2015. She founded the consulting firm Kilele Global in 2016.
Since the mid-2010s, Eisenstat has shifted her focus from overseas national security issues to ethics and social responsibility in technology companies. She has been critical of some of Facebook's political paid advertising activities after she gained firsthand experience of the company's advertising operations. Eisenstat had been working at Facebook since June 2018, but left after only 6 months because she was not empowered to lead the elections integrity efforts for political advertising. Since then, she has been advocating for tighter regulation on technology companies' usage of personal data.
Since 2019, she has been Policy Advisor for the Center for Humane Technology, as well as Visiting Fellow at Cornell Tech's Digital Life Initiative.
Eisenstat has written for many other major newspapers and magazines, including for the New York Times and Time. She has also appeared on CNN, BBC, and other televised news networks.
In her articles for the New York Times and the Huffington Post, Eisenstat has criticized President Donald Trump's January 2017 speech to the Central Intelligence Agency as disrespectful and self-promotional.