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US spies advised to use ‘inclusive language’ – media

A new intelligence DEI newsletter urges officials against using terms such as ‘blacklisting’ or ‘sanity check’, Fox News reports

The US intelligence community’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Office has released a new internal newsletter featuring recommendations on the language that security personnel should avoid in their work, Fox News reported on Saturday.

The document urges against using words such as ‘blacklisting’ or ‘cakewalk’, and highlights the benefits of cross-dressing for an intelligence officer’s work, the broadcaster said.

It is unclear when exactly the document, titled ‘Words matter: the importance of words’, was published, but Fox News reported that it was initially obtained by the Daily Wire through a public information request. The paper was produced by an agency within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a cabinet-level position overseeing major spy agencies, including the CIA and several military intelligence services.

The newsletter features a total of six articles “that speak to inclusivity more broadly, exploring gender identity, advances in accessibility, and diversity in leadership,” according to Fox News, which was able to review the contents.

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The first piece reportedly covers intelligence training and presentation materials that conflate Islam with terrorism, and details efforts aimed at “weeding out” problematic language that “is offensive and alienates our Muslim-American colleagues.”

A separate article in the newsletter was said to be dedicated to the experience of an unnamed male intelligence official who admitted to cross-dressing and claimed it had enhanced his professional skills. “I think my experiences as someone who cross-dresses have sharpened the skills I use as an intelligence officer, particularly critical thinking and perspective-taking,” according to the unnamed author.

Another piece dealing with ‘linguistic diversity’ suggested that intelligence officials should get rid of what it calls ‘biased language’. The list of terms to be avoided include ‘blacklisted’ because it supposedly implies that “black is bad and white is good,” as well as ‘sanity check’, as it is said to imply that people with mental issues are inferior to others.

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The ODNI confirmed its efforts to “build a diverse and inclusive workforce” to Fox, adding that its DEIA office distributes a quarterly magazine on the issue to each of the US intelligence agencies.

The document drew some criticism from US lawmakers and intelligence community veterans. Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, told Fox News that “intelligence officers should spend their time finding terrorists, not worrying about whether they will offend them.”

Jeremy Hunt, a former Army intelligence officer and the head of the advocacy group Veterans on Duty, warned that such language would lead to “lower quality, imprecise, and confusing intelligence reports.”

A similar DEI paper that was made public in November 2023 triggered an inquiry by two members of congress after the Daily Wire, which was also the one to break the news at the time, described it as endorsing “blatantly left-wing views on race and sex.”


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