“”As an agency librarian,” says the man in the ad, “I work to ensure that our collection and programs are aligned with what the CIA needs.” Not only do I help with the procurement of journals, books, and a plethora of electronic tools, but I’m also encouraged to curate unique collections that defy expectations.”
He goes on to say that he recently brought in a “intelligence gaming set” with the aim of providing officers with “unique opportunities to practice skills they need in their different positions… while simultaneously building on the myriad soft skills necessary to intelligence work.”
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Isn’t that nothing out of the ordinary?
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The ad then switches to the man’s personal life story without much of a transition.
“I was fortunate to have a great and loving family growing up gay in a small southern town,” he says as a rusty water tower slides onto the frame.
“I’d always worried that I wouldn’t be able to talk about my personal life at work,” he added. “Imagine my surprise when I saw a rainbow on then-CIA Director John Brennan’s lanyard while taking my oath.”
“I recall being taken aback. Since then, however, I’ve discovered that inclusion is a central value here, well beyond the resource classes. Officers at all levels strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation, can bring their whole selves to work every day.”
The ad concludes with the CIA logo flashing boldly on a black backdrop, underneath which is the recruitment URL.
Although creating a supportive work environment is a top priority for every company, the use of such messages as the driving force for CIA recruitment is dubious.
The content of the first “woke” CIA ad was described as “parody worthy of The Onion” by the left-leaning website The Intercept. They noted the irony of an organization that has tortured individuals, organized coups, and participated in “global death-dealing” suddenly worrying for its employees’ diversity. “This isn’t the old CIA of dressed grey men,” they joke, “it’s a dynamic and feminist organization of neo-imperial terror!”
The ad was compared to “Nancy Pelosi in kente cloth or Amazon posting Black Lives Matter slogans” by The Intercept, who described it as “nothing more than performative acts in the hopes of fooling the woke crowd into thinking they are on their side.”