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Hullabaloo


Sunday, September 10, 2017

 
White, Christian spooks only need apply?

by digby



This article in Foreign Policy reports that the CIA recently cancelled speakers for its diversity program because the Trump people pretty much feel they've done enough of that sort of thing. Also,  Mike Pompeo is a hard right partisan who's bringing his wingnut agenda to ... the CIA. This seems kind of stupid if you ask me.

Anyway:
For those who have worked inside the agency, the backtracking on diversity represents a threat to the workforce and national security, according to Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who helped track high-level terrorist targets like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The agency needs employees from different backgrounds and orientations to effectively recruit agents abroad. “What if you have to recruit someone who’s gay and that’s the only reason they’re talking to you?” she asked.

“This isn’t just about today’s diversity issue. It’s about tomorrow’s lack of diversity that will erode the agency,” Bakos told FP. “You can’t hire someone who’s typically white American to walk around Baghdad.”


Until the 1990s, being openly gay or transgender was a career-ending taboo kept secret among officers. The agency was fearful that employees’ personal relationships would serve as valuable blackmail for adversaries overseas. Exposure would likely result in the loss of security clearances, rendering analysts and officers unemployable in the field of intelligence.

The situation for women and minorities was little better, particularly when it came to high-profile assignments like production of the President’s Daily Brief, a summary of top-secret intelligence given to the president every morning. “The most important intelligence product … during the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s was essentially produced by old white men,” said David Priess, a former CIA briefer and author of The President’s Book of Secrets.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order that prevented intelligence officers from losing their clearances on the basis of their sexuality, kicking off what was to be a long and hard-fought shift in agency culture.

In March 2013, John Brennan was appointed director under President Barack Obama, and the new CIA head moved to make diversity and employee rights a priority. Senior leaders competed for spots to speak at employee gay pride events and accompanied the director to diversity events and celebrations.

While embraced by many, Brennan’s policies drew the ire of right-wing publications like the National Review, which claimed his diversity and inclusion strategy was just a way to make the agency more “politically correct.”

But for Brennan, the changes were a matter of building a better workforce, as well as national security. “I believe strongly that diversity and inclusion [are] what this country is all about,” Brennan said in a phone interview with FP. “I can think of no organization that can make a better business case for diversity and inclusion than the CIA. We have the responsibility of covering the globe, understanding all societies, cultures, and backgrounds.”

One would think that understanding as much about everything as possible is a good idea. But when you are a single-minded zealot, you don't need no stinkin' understanding. The Bible is all you need.

Pompeo is rumored to be working more as a Trump loyalist in this post than as someone who sees the job as a politically neutral national security position. Of course, he isn't the first political hack in the job or even the first with a specific partisan agenda and loyalty to a specific president. He might be the first to help his president cover up his secret involvement with a foreign power though. That's a new one.

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