Watch: Woke CIA Recruitment Campaign Features One 'Stunned' Employee

Thursday May 13, 2021

The unnamed CIA employee in the agency's ad campaign
The unnamed CIA employee in the agency's ad campaign  (Source:YouTube)

A federal agency with a shady past and shadowy image has gotten woke with a series of recruitment ads that have been met with criticism and ridicule. The ads are part of the Central Intelligence Agency's ongoing "woke" recruitment campaign, "Humans of CIA,' reports the website Dazed. And they are being called examples of "woke washing."

The most recent video features an unnamed agency librarian "stunned" by the agency's inclusivity. "Growing up gay in a small Southern town, I was lucky to have a wonderful and accepting family," the employee says, over slow-motion shots of him leafing through books in the library. "I always struggled with the idea that I might not be able to talk about my personal life at work."

"Imagine my surprise when I was taking my oath at CIA and I noticed a rainbow on then-Director (John) Brennan's lanyard," he continues. "I remember being stunned."

The ad followed an earlier one released in March that featured a young Latinx woman who addressed "her immigrant upbringing and her ability to straddle different worlds, while maintaining her sense of self," Fast Company reported.

"I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial, who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder," she says, according to Fast company. "I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise."

After the video was launched, it was slammed by the right for being "propagandist garbage" by Senator Ted Cruz and by the left as "distraction propaganda, brushing aside the agency's history of coups, assassination attempts, and rigged elections, in favor of a warm and fuzzy image," the article continued.

Critics of the campaign aimed at those in the LGBTQ community point out the federal government's terrible behavior. Writes Fast Company, "people have also pointed to the US government's history of dismissing homosexual employees en masse — during the so-called Lavender Scare — and, elsewhere, suggested that the whole 'Humans of CIA' series has a distinct 'Black Mirror' vibe going on."

Responding to backlash against its latest recruitment videos, the agency has also told Fox News that they've proven effective at attracting fresh candidates. "2020 was a standout recruitment year for CIA despite the pandemic," it says. "Our 2021 incoming class is the third-largest in a decade." Great news.

The ad, Fast Company learned, was part of an ongoing campaign. "In 2019, we started our ongoing social media series, 'Humans of CIA,' for real officers to share their firsthand experiences," a spokesperson for the CIA told Fast Company. (That was their complete statement.) "Inspired by the popular site Humans of New York, 'Humans of CIA' profiles and dramatizes real officers, their roles, and what brought them to the agency. It's also a not-so subtle illustration of the diversity that the agency is seeking, profiling more than 12 of its employees in videos and photos across social media, from an Asian mom to a gay librarian with a nose ring."

That last video is one being roasted on social media, as seen in the following tweets.

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