Fact Check

Did CIA Video Feature 'Intersectional,' 'Cisgender,' 'Latina' Woman?

A promotional CIA video was decried as “woke recruitment” and “propaganda.”

Published May 5, 2021

 (Duffman/Wikimedia Commons)
Image courtesy of Duffman/Wikimedia Commons
An April 2021 CIA promotional video showed a Latina agent describing herself as a “woman of color,” “mom,” “a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” who is also “intersectional.”

A CIA advertisement shared on social media in April 2021 got a lot of attention for using language that some described as “woke.”

In the video titled “Humans of CIA,” a Latina CIA employee described herself: “I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.” She added that she is a “daughter of immigrants” and “intersectional,” which refers to the the complex way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine or overlap, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

The CIA’s official Twitter account shared a clip from the video, which appeared to be part of a recruitment strategy highlighting diversity within the agency. In early 2021, the CIA rebranded its website, featuring people of color prominently in its promotions. The same appears true for these recruitment videos:

In the video, the woman also said, "But my existence is not a box-checking exercise. I am a walking declaration, a woman whose inflection does not rise at the end of her sentences, suggesting that a question has been asked. I did not sneak into the CIA. My employment was not and is not the result of a fluke or a slip through the cracks. I earned my way in, and I earned my way up the ranks of this organization."

The full video was posted on the CIA’s official YouTube page:


The video had critics on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives lambasted the video as “woke propaganda.” Tucker Carlson of Fox News poked fun at it on his show with a graphic labeling the CIA as the “Cisgender Intersectional Agency.” He said U.S. President Joe Biden’s CIA was filled with spies who “talk mostly about themselves.”

Others, however, criticized the CIA for co-opting the language of the left to attract attention.

Comedian Blaire Erskine made fun of the video in a parody of her own in which she said, “You know, if I could go back and tell this little baby girl something, I would go tell her that women can do murder, too,” she said. “We can do a little murder, too, if we want to.”

Given that this was a real video released by the CIA, we rate this claim as “True.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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