A Georgetown University professor who spent 12 years as a CIA intelligence analyst is warning that DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts and the overall politicization of the intelligence community have become a ‘significant’ problem and that he is confident those agencies will attempt to interfere with the 2024 election similar to their efforts in 2020.
‘My guess is that the the proverbial deep state within the intelligence community will reemerge because presumably a Republican candidate will again be seen as a threat to the internal policies that many intelligence people like,’ Dr. John Gentry, author of the new book, ‘Neutering the CIA: Why US Intelligence Versus Trump Has Long-Term Consequences,’ told Fox News Digital.
Within days of the bombshell New York Post story that detailed the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop in the lead-up to the 2020 election, 51 former intelligence officials signed onto a letter in an attempt to discredit the laptop, saying it ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.’
The CIA approved the publication of the infamous Hunter Biden laptop letter, according to documents obtained by Fox News Digital in 2023.
Gentry told Fox News Digital that downplaying the Hunter Biden laptop was ‘clearly political’ and that a highly placed source told him ‘in no uncertain terms’ that it was done ‘explicitly’ with the ‘intent to help the Biden campaign.’
He said there have already been signs in recent weeks that current or former intelligence agency members will be active in 2024.
‘I long have thought we are likely to again see former intelligence officers be politically active against Trump or whomever the Republican presidential candidate is next year, and I expect leaking to resume,’ Gentry said. ‘The activities of ‘formers’ have resumed already, a bit before I expected.’
Gentry pointed to a recent article from Marc Polymeropoulos, a CIA official who retired in 2019 and was the co-lead of the Hunter Biden laptop ‘open letter,’ and former FBI employee Asha Rangappa that warned of the dangers of Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail.
‘Asha Rangappa once worked at the FBI and also was openly anti-Trump, though as a relatively junior former, she attracted less attention than many,’ Gentry said. ‘I think it is worth closely monitoring these people. Many have compromised their credibility by actions such as the ‘Laptop 51′ letter.’
A major issue over the past few decades, Gentry said, was the introduction of DEI policies at the major intelligence agencies, including the CIA, that shifted attention away from day-to-day operations to a more ‘woke’ political agenda.
‘It was an effort half a century ago to get more women and minorities into the intelligence community,’ Gentry said. ‘This was done under the rubric of affirmative action. It gradually became more of a policy through the Clinton administration. But it took a significant step forward, or not, depending on your perspective, when President Obama signed an executive order designed to improve diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce.’
Gentry told Fox News Digital that discussions about personal politics didn’t happen during his time at the CIA but that sources in the intelligence community during the Obama years told him that standard was largely ‘gone’ and political activism was ‘common.’
Two of the main drivers of the more politically active intel agencies, Gentry explained, were former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Gentry said Brennan and Clapper were both ‘… very strongly supportive of Obama’s desire to transform the federal workforce, and so they began to accelerate this process and did a number of things from the standpoint of policy actions, in terms of specific recruitment efforts, for example, and they pushed their employees to be more concerned about diversity and inclusion issues and, even in Brennan’s case, to be politically active.’
Gentry told Fox News Digital that there is no doubt that DEI and politicization within the intel agencies have had a negative effect on morale with the rank-and-file workers.
‘There are a lot of people who are unhappy about it because it’s politicizing the workforce, and it’s dividing the workforce among people who believe in DEI policies and those who don’t,’ Gentry said.
‘And even in the Obama period, the analysis director had people who were beginning to talk about, quote, ‘soft totalitarianism.’ That was a direct result of Brennan’s top-down, politically driven policies; the totalitarianism being a reminder of the Soviet Union and China and so on. Well, this has a number of effects in terms of performance and in terms of credibility.’
Gentry said his book will hopefully help readers ‘appreciate that there is a significant political problem within the agencies’ and that former members of the intel community saw how effective they were in damaging Trump in 2020 and ‘no one was criticized.’
‘So, put all these things together, and I’m pretty confident that we’ll see a reemergence of activism,’ Gentry said.
In a speech at the Aspen Security Forum in July, CIA Director William Burns addressed the issue of politicization inside the intelligence community.
‘My obligation, and President Biden reminds me of this frequently, is to offer the best intelligence that we can collect and analyze straight up, even when that’s inconvenient to policymakers. I spent enough time on the other side of the table to know when it’s inconvenient to, when somebody’s telling you that the big new idea is actually not so big, not so new, and not so effective,’ Burns said.
‘Our job is to be straight about that, whether it’s welcome downtown, at the White House, or other parts of the executive branch or not. It’s not an easy role to play, but it’s an incredibly important one. It’s one I take seriously. I know Director Haines does and others across the US intelligence community. That’s what our officers do their very best to provide.’