Kate Adler is a spymaster with the Cartel.
A couple of important qualifications to that statement are in order.
First the matter of what exactly the Cartel is comes up. Even that name isn't right because since it officially does not exist, it can hardly have an official name for itself. "Some referred to it as the Cartel" is the way that the President of the United states tells his closest advisor about the group and even this is only a short while after the Chief Executive learns of it himself. According to him, there were "a group who addresses issues that normal law abiding countries find problematic for one reason or another - problems that can't be addressed because of treaty obligations or just plain political correctness". When pressed for more information, he reveals "a group of billionaires who have chosen the Cartel as their philanthropic vehicle provides ample funding" allowing them to have "a tactical element they can employ". Read into that boots on the ground with guns in their hands.
In different words, the Cartel is a private intelligence agency with tremendous resources and the will to take action when they feel needed. Normally such an organization would eventually, if not purposely, acquire a reputation but "their desire to remain secret was somewhere beyond paranoid" so they did whatever they could to make sure they remained unknown.
Heading the Cartel is - or rather will be - Kate Adler.
Which brings up the second qualification mentioned above. When we first meet Adler, she does not know she is slated to be the leader of this shadowy spy agency; she does not have any idea that it exists.
Mind you, she knows that companies dedicated to intelligence gathering existed. This 35-year-old single woman is no stranger to the cloak-and-dagger world. She was recruited while in college by the CIA and joined that organization upon graduation; even attending its impressive training. After two years of very boring posting doing next to nothing to challenge her very impressive mind, she switched employers to work for the NSA where her intellect and her knowledge of computers got a better use.
What she most definitely did not do was to go to work for Adler Electronics, the now-mega conglomerate with its hands in anything dealing with high-tech. Founded by her father shortly after he and she, as a very young girl, fled East Germany, the company has grown to be worth many, many billions. Young Adler's deep love and admiration for her father did not extend to wanting to take over for him some day, despite the fact that he insisted she be on the board and hold "ceremonial director's positions". Even when the aging Adler began to suffer from Alzheimer's, she demurred taking the reins. It was only on his death that she was forced to take an active role.
And it was then that she learned that her father was the man who had set up the Cartel and who ran it. And now she did.