The CIA is turning to streaming services to help attract future spies, The New York Times reports.
The agency’s first television advertisement "Discover the CIA: Your Nation Is Counting on You" debuted on Monday. The newspaper reports the ad is a mix of patriotism with a taste of popular TV show “Homeland.”
Recruitment has been a top priority for CIA Director Gina Haspel, according to the New York Times.
But it is not because the agency has a shortage of applicants. Last year, the CIA logged its best year of recruiting in a decade.
The new ad is a move to launch the agency into current times.
“Americans are consuming streaming content now more than ever, and we want to be part of what they’re seeing,” agency spokeswoman Nicole de Haay told the newspaper.
The CIA has posted recruitment videos to its YouTube channel and made pitches to join the CIA team in radio and online advertisements. The new ad is the first meant for TV viewers.
In order to reach more people, the agency has launched an Instagram account, sent scientists to judge local science fairs and has even helped assist on Hollywood productions, the newspaper reports. The CIA also recruits heavily on college campuses as it competes against big businesses for talented employees.
The ad was created with help from current CIA officers, according to the newspaper.
“There is an officer sitting at a desk and they say, ‘I think I found something.’ That gave me goose bumps,” said Lisa Maddox, a former CIA analyst. “Because I had those moments, and almost everyone I know had them. When you feel you found that needle in a haystack, you are so excited. It is a cool moment.”
Maddox said the ad may help boost recruitment of much-needed midcareer employees, who can be difficult to reach.
“The general supply always exceeds the demand,” said Nicholas Dujmovic, a former CIA historian who is now a professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington. “But there are skills they are always looking for, so getting those specific individuals may be tough.”
The ad also focuses on diversity. It features actors of East Asian, South Asian and European descent and portrays a Black senior official addressing a class of new recruits. In another scene, an African American case officer conducts a secretive hand off of a thumb drive.
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