The traditional Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, is now boosting its image through social media in an attempt to soften aspects that have generated harsh criticism in the past.
Its team has at least a dozen staffers tasked with reaching out to the public and achieving a significant increase in “like” tags, according to Politico Sept. 8.
Its Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook accounts have several hundred thousand followers, and on Twitter, they reach 3.2 million.
In addition, one CIA spokesperson mentioned the possibility of opening an agency account on the controversial TikTok network to appeal to Generation Z [composed of those born after the year 2,000], but “With TikTok, obviously, there is the Chinese risk,” the same person cautioned.
TikTok is linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which also owns shares in the company that owns it, Byte Dance, so it can be expected to conduct espionage through it at the risk of national security.
The CCP’s interference in TikTok led Republican Senator Marco Rubio to request President Biden on August 17 to definitively ban the application in the United States.
For her part, the 37-year-old leader of the agency’s social media team, Candice Bryant, insisted, “There’s people who don’t realize that we have a softer side here.”
Yet none of the controversial intelligence operations conducted by the CIA around the world is mentioned on its social media.
“The story on the CIA’s social media feeds largely omits waterboarding, drone strikes, bad WMD intelligence, failed coups, or even successful coups,” reviews author Alex Thompson.
On the other hand, from the point of view of one of its former officers with more than 14 years of service mainly in the fight against terrorism, Matt Castelli, changes should be made from within the institution.
“Nearly every officer I know can point to demoralizing examples of serial sexual harassers and infamous toxic personalities being promoted into the ranks of senior management, creating hostile work environments, and holding on to their positions for years,” Castelli wrote in December.
The campaign launched by the CIA in April to recruit agents was harshly criticized and ridiculed on social networks because instead of appealing to patriotism, and the courage to give one’s life for one’s country in service, it promotes gender diversity as an important value.
In this regard, Megan McCain, the daughter of the former Republican senator, said, “This CIA recruitment video is a joke and a real embarrassment to our entire country. China, Russia and our enemies are laughing at us.”
Likewise, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the agency of prioritizing “some liberal woke agenda” over national security.
“When I was Director of the CIA, we valued individuals based on their talent and skill, not their race or sexuality,” he tweeted in May.