This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
On Monday, a (very bizarre) video advertisement shared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Twitter account became the subject of controversy (and some mockery). In a lengthy video, a Latinx CIA employee is shown making a very heavy-handed pitch to millennials, replete with every “woke” stereotype imaginable. The tweet, which starts with the hashtag #WednesdayWisdom (it was first posted last Wednesday), includes a quote from the employee: “I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world. Command your space. Mija, you are worth it.”
In a full version of the video, titled “Humans of CIA,” a camera follows this nameless woman officer around the CIA headquarters for a full two and half minutes. She describes herself as “a cisgender millennial diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” and uses the word “intersectional” while walking past multiple portraits of old white men. At age 36, she said she suffered from “imposter syndrome” and also “refuse[s] to internalize misguided, patriarchal ideals about what a woman can and should be.” The video was short of using every woke-ism apart from maybe “hot girl summer” and “bestie.” But fear not, because this agent is clearly #thriving #goals #CIA.
The apparent use of woke bait as a recruiting tactic obviously created “discourse.” (The CIA knows this.) The video made a lot of references to things like marginalization, feminism, and mental health, which prompted conservatives to argue how empty the use of identity politics really are. However, non-conservatives, or in this case, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, fired back, explaining that the issue isn’t just the very blatant woke bait — it’s the fact that an organization that has thrived on war crimes, torture, and silencing the opposition is trying to recruit the very communities that they’ve destroyed most.
Silly me I thought the CIA was evil because of their 70 years of war crimes, assassinating heads of state, torture, and crushing people’s movements around the globe, and it turns out the real problem was a woke pamphlet https://t.co/MYcNFLjd5s
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) May 3, 2021
Actual quotes from this new CIA recruitment ad:
“I am a woman of color”
“I am a cisgender millennial”
“I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder”
“I am intersectional”
I think it’s safe to say the contemporary American left has failed.pic.twitter.com/ruUzWSeIur
— Aisha Ahmad (@aishaismad) May 2, 2021
the CIA cynically uses the language of democracy, resistance, education, anti extractivism & dozens of other lefty concepts too it doesn’t mean they’re all tainted & need to be abandoned. Indeed, co-opting otherwise useful political currents to push empire is kind of their thing! https://t.co/KkVgblsHaW
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) May 3, 2021
In case anyone needed a reminder, this effort to rebrand the CIA as a fun start-up recruiting fresh young minds is just a distraction from their storied history as a killing machine. The organization has a long track record of participating in a global drug trade and experimenting on human beings in America and Canada using illegal substances, and it has long been suspected of playing a role in the death of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among, you know, other issues.
So, sure, the CIA can absolutely try to tell young people to command their space, as long as that space includes abolishing the systems of violence that they created.
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