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‘Wokeness’ at the CIA Is an Embarrassment

The Central Intelligence Agency under President Joe Biden and his appointed director, Bill Burns, appears to have morphed into yet another tool of the “woke” Left; unrecognizable to many of the men and women who, like me, were proud to serve what was in years past the world’s preeminent intelligence agency. It has become an embarrassment.

In a recent recruitment video published on social media, the point is made clear that the mission for employees of today’s CIA is not about serving as members of a team committed to providing the very best objective intelligence to policymakers in the administration. The mission now is more about using the CIA as a vehicle to boost one’s self-image.

This ad, perhaps dreamed up by some overly woke ad agency, has the self-declared 36-year-old female CIA employee refusing “to internalize misguided patriarchal ideas about what a woman can or should be.” She then informs us that she is “tired of feeling like I have to apologize for the space I occupy rather than intoxicate people with my effort, my brilliance.”

Labeling this gobbledygook idiotic is being overly kind. In fact, when I first saw this video, I thought it was a joke. Sadly, it is not. It is an official CIA recruitment video, obviously directed to self-centered individuals with pre-existing psychological issues (including something the star of the video calls “generalized anxiety disorder”).

At National Review, Charles Cooke humorously pans the video as a “well-targeted” recruitment tool, given the sorts of people who respond positively to it are “already experts in manipulating, infiltrating, surveilling, and extracting dubious confessions from the rest of us.” However, the video represents more than just an absurd attempt to blend in with today’s progressive orthodoxy. 

The recruitment video apparently is one of a series, and depicts an internal culture that no longer understands the underlying and fundamental responsibility of the CIA, an agency at the center of our Intelligence Community. Part and parcel of that responsibility is, or used to be, to hire and retain employees who understand their job is to produce the very best finished intelligence product for our nation’s top policymakers.

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This absurd, woke recruitment video twists that crucial responsibility so that the job of CIA recruiters is to find and hire individuals based on their self-image, and on how working for the CIA will contribute to their, not the country’s well-being. The ad also raises questions about the intelligence of those within the Agency who concluded that releasing the video was a good idea in the first place. 

Think back to the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump in late 2019. That entire process was provoked initially by a call between Trump and the Ukrainian president — a call which congressional Democrats found objectionable. Somewhat lost in the partisan trappings of the impeachment, however, was the fact that the person or persons responsible for the initial leaks about the incident, were intelligence officers who considered themselves and their view of what the president should or should not be discussing with another world leader, to supersede their responsibility as an employee of the Intelligence Community. 

In this respect, those intelligence employees were performing precisely as the arrogant and self-centered employee in this latest recruitment video would have them behave, as rogue employees asserting their “brilliance” as opposed to working for the president.

The ultimate value of America’s foreign intelligence apparatus is founded on whether policymakers can trust that the intelligence given to them is neutral, objective, and unfiltered. President Biden may prefer receiving intelligence product based instead on a very different criteria, including that its authors think highly of themselves and who see their job as a means of fulfilling their self-worth rather than that of the United States.

If so, this is a recipe for foreign intelligence failures, if not disasters. Making matters worse, and as I have noted previously, it is being aided by a Secretary of Defense consumed with transgenderism and allegations of “white supremacy” rather than threats against us by our foreign adversaries.

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