Under Biden, US intel agencies see ‘diversity’ as a top priority, AP reports

Harold Hutchison, DCNF

Intelligence community leaders have made workplace diversity a top priority since the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines appointed diversity officials who seek to collect data to address reported disparities in advancement and whether the process for granting access to classified information is fair to minorities, the AP reported.

Non-native English speakers applying for promotions reportedly faced criticism over accents that supposedly were hard to understand, the AP reported, citing those who served on promotion boards.

The DNI effort includes a review of the 10% of security clearance applications that take the longest to process, according to the AP, which noted that data on the delays in processing applications for security clearances do not include information on race, gender, or ethnicity.

The efforts of spy agencies did not live up to commitments to increase diversity made by leaders, according to publicly available data, including a 2015 report by the Central Intelligence Agency and interviews conducted by the AP.

“Simply put, we can’t be effective and we’re not being true to our nation’s ideals if everyone looks like me, talks like me, and thinks like me,” CIA Director William Burns said in a 2021 congressional hearing.

“We’re not going to see immediate change overnight,” Stephanie La Rue, chief officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a statement. “It’s going to take us a while to get to where we need to go.”

La Rue denied that the effort to promote diversity would result in lower standards, the AP reported.

“The narrative that we have to sacrifice excellence for diversity, or that we are somehow compromising national security to achieve our diversity goals, is ridiculous,” she told the AP.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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