Some critics recalled a 1980 CIA memo advising agents on how to identify a homosexual person in public
The United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was accused of turning 'woke' after it published a celebration of what it referred to as the agency's "rich history" of supporting LGBTQ issues, in a social media post on Thursday.
"Pride Month is an occasion for all of us at the Agency to pay tribute to the rich history, community, and mission contributions of our LGBTQ+ officers," a Thursday tweet from the US government agency reads. The social media post also included an image of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia overlaid with rainbow colors and merging the acronym 'CIA' with the word 'Pride.'
It also added that the term 'WELCO-ME!', which represents "Wellness, Equity, LGBTQ+, Community, Openness and ME!," is the organization's "theme" for Pride Month.
The message was widely mocked online. Elon Musk, owner and chairman of Twitter, responded to the tweet by saying that he thought that the spy agency "liked being in the closet." Conservative political commenter Ben Shapiro called the tweet "wildly dystopian," while Fox News television host Laura Ingraham said that it is evidence that the agency has become "a woke spa."
Another critic, reporter Chuck Ross of the Washington Free Beacon, accused the agency of hypocrisy, referring to a more than 40-year-old internal CIA memo which advised agents how to accurately identify members of the LGBTQ community who might have kept their sexual orientation secret.
The 1980 memo, which was made public following a freedom of information request in 2017, advised agents that "one of the most common mistakes made by an average person is the conviction that he can recognize a homosexual on sight. This is similar to recognizing a communist."
The three-page memo added that a gay person may have a "mental or emotional problem" and that "there is no way to spot a homosexual."
Despite the derision online at the CIA's tweet, the US agency has attempted to promote LGBTQ issues in the more recent past. In 2012, it established new methods designed to entice and welcome members of the LGBTQ community into its ranks, as part of an effort to diversify its workforce.