Why is the CIA hiding its identity

Diversity at the CIA: A Service for the 21st Century

Why not use the diversity achieved in the authority as an advertising medium? The CIA received a lot of criticism for this campaign.

A CIA old school appearance in the Pakistani-Afghan border area Photo: dpa

Hooray! The CIA has finally arrived in the 21st century - 20 years late! There is unmistakable evidence for this thesis, about which a heated debate has broken out in the US media. In videos that introduce employees and linguistically ingratiate themselves with the diversity debate, the CIA presents itself as modern and open to current social trends. Conservative politicians like the Texan Senator Ted Cruz, shaking their heads, ask whether they think China's communists are doing something like this To scare mullahs in Iran or Kim Jong-Un.

Gone are the days when the US foreign intelligence service consisted of men in trench coats and slouch hats, in which they sent poisoned cigars to unloved neighbors - as in 1960 to Fidel Castro in Cuba - or when in 1973 they supplied Chilean coups with submachine guns hidden in diplomatic bags they murder the military chief René Schneider, who is loyal to Allende and the constitution. The era in which the CIA abducted captured Islamists to unknown locations in order to have them tortured there was also ended by Barack Obama.

Under Donald Trump there was a slight relapse when he appointed Gina Haspel as CIA director in 2018. She ran a secret prison in Thailand where two suspected al-Qaeda leaders were waterboarded in 2002, but that didn't stop her career. It didn't even hurt that it was discovered that she had destroyed the torture interrogation videos.

Gina Haspel has since been replaced by lawyer Avril Haines at the head of the CIA. This is the second time that a woman heads the secret service. But of course that alone is not enough to save an institution's thoroughly battered reputation. Haines is accused of the fact that although she helped draft rules for the more restrictive use of drones in Pakistan and Yemen in 2013, civilians continue to be killed by these acts of war.

CIA reputation management

When oil companies, car manufacturers or food companies fall into disrepute and subsequently their sales figures and share prices crash, this is a case for the specialists in reputation management. Companies are then reinvented with media image campaigns, perhaps even with a new name. Apparently the CIA has tried that too.

The key witness for the “new” CIA is Miya, a 36-year-old Latina who guides us through her workplace in the YouTube series “Humans of CIA”. She wears a black t-shirt with the Venus symbol and a clenched fist in it and presents herself as a modern immigrant who was selected for this job solely on the basis of her skills. She was "a cisgender millennial who was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder". She refuses to accept “false patriarchal ideas about what women can or should be”.

With 256,000 views so far, Miya's testimonial surpasses the other episodes of the series by ten times. Even the friendly black guide dog of a receptionist, whose jacket is decorated with a rainbow-colored heart and the slogan “Love is Love”, only attracted 19,000 hits. Perhaps Fox News also helped, where Miya's video was rated as “propaganda rubbish” and as an indication of the left-wing liberal takeover of the country.

A former CIA agent is defending the campaign. “Diversity is an operational advantage, it's very simple.” But not everyone is convinced that the image change can be real. Journalist Rania Khaled is quoted in Newsweek as saying: "I still can't get over this video ... woke identity politics is officially co-opted by the world's most destructive intelligence agency." CIA won't change anything anyway: "I think that CIA agents should be nasty guys (" bad-asses ") and not woke delicate flowers that need protected rooms," he tweeted.