The latest scandal to rock the Intel World concerns the actions of the newest member of the hall of shame — Reality Winner. Her overly muscled visage, along with excerpts from her reckless social media accounts, were trending last week for about 17 minutes. Already she has fallen down the media memory hole, to no doubt resurface (a bit) once her trial actually begins.
Notwithstanding its obscurity, I find this incident very troubling — as should any professional in the intelligence community. And the reason for this bad feeling I have isn't going away. I am afraid she's the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
This is the type of discussion that will only occur, and rarely at that — in hushed tones within the intelligence community (IC) — for anyone who would address what I believe is a true "reality" problem in the IC would soon find themselves out of a job. Thus, it's not a very politcally correct endeavor.
The problem, showcased most recently by the deluded Ms. Winner, is that the U.S. intelligence community, along with the U.S. military and every other institution, is now reaping the bitter harvest of a liberal, progressive educational system.
I am sure we all can agree that the IC and the military should be a mirror to U.S. society —and I believe we are getting just that. I fear, however, that down the line, we are not going to like what we see in that mirror.
Mind you, what I am talking about is a general, long term trend — there remain, and will always be, professional patriots motivated to serve our country in all its forms — but over time I believe these people will become progressively harder to find and or recruit — and the quality of our security institutions will fade.
Think of it as the equivalent of a slowly declining standard. For example, 30 years ago, the FBI, CIA, and other agencies, could immediately rule out any applicant who indicated any drug use. This standard was subsequently relaxed into accepting applicants who admitted isolated, experimental drug use. In our present overly-medicated society, even that standard has been difficult for agencies to uphold — especially those seeking to expand, such as the United States Secret Service.
Other standards have been relaxed, including the acceptance of "alternative lifestyles," a process which accelerated in the early 2000s. More ominously, as described by retired Senior CIA Analyst Fred Fleitz.
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan announced his "Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (2016–2019)" to make the CIA more diverse and politically correct. Brennan has mandated "diversity and inclusion performance objectives for all CIA managers and supervisors and ultimately [for] the entire workforce," so that CIA personnel must weigh diversity and gender figures in making key assignments and senior-level promotions." We are treading in dangerous territory once we make the mission of any government agency social engineering rather than its proper function. Ask the Marine Corps.
As ill-advised as some (but not all) of these reforms have been, what is even more troubling is that our society is now receiving the fruits of a watered-down liberal education system, namely the millions of millennials currently entering the work force. The generations-long process of declining SAT numbers and reduced critical thinking skills are making themselves felt.
It's clear that I am not the only one seeing this. It is also being increasingly noticed by business leaders nationwide. Whereas some may disagree with the liberal progressive label I have placed on it — these people are wrong, thank you — few can argue with its effects.
With our universities now hotbeds of intolerance and groupthink, where are our intelligence services headed? To ask the question is to answer it.
New millenial members of the intelligence community (or military, or what have you) have been taught more liberal doctrine than their predecessors. They are more often easily manipulated by the mainstream media, forces of political correctness or whomever (critical thinking again!), and have sometimes radically different values regarding patriotism, transparency, etc.
Even someone such as former CIA Director Michael Hayden, has discussed this "challenge" peripherally.
So we have a markedly different millennial workforce entering the fray, along with external factors enabling a "leaker culture." When you expose these individuals to a stridently politically correct environment, like that found within goverment, combine it with the present "resist" movement — What are you going to get?
When former Director Comey, without shame, admits to personally leaking info, or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lies to Congress, what goes through the mind of someone like, for example, Reality Winner?
Someone brainwashed by the liberal narrative, intellectually incurious, deprived of critical thinking skills — then placed in a position of trust in a toxic political environment — becomes a recipe for disaster.
I am not absolving Ms. Winner, just lamenting the bitter harvest we reap due to the forces of political correctness.
For those who would challenge my words, I know of what I speak. In addition to graduate teaching at New York University (NYU) where a conservative professor is about as common as an albino Sasquatch, I have substitute-taught in my local, rural Pennsylvania high school. I have seen this sort of liberalism firsthand. I don't know how many times students have approached me after class to thank me for bringing a more conservative perspective to their history or literature classes.
Many young people recognize they are slowly force fed an unending liberal agenda - but there is no alternative. If it’s this bad in rural Pennsylvannia, how is it in New York, or God forbid, California?
The future will bring many more Reality Winners. Millennials will soon dominate the U.S. workforce. No counterintelligence system in the world can compensate for the fact conservatives long ago abdicated the education field of battle to the forces of liberal progressivism.
Scott Uehlinger is a retired CIA Station Chief and Naval Officer. A Russian speaker, he spent 12 years of his career abroad in the former Soviet Union. In addition to teaching at NYU, he is a frequent Newsmax TV and Fox Business TV commentator, and has a weekly podcast, "the Station Chief," that can be found on iTunes or at www.thestationchief.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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