CIA failing to recruit, promote minorities, study finds

Ken Dilanian
Associated Press

Washington — The CIA is failing to hire and promote sufficient numbers of minorities despite years of vowing to do so, Director John Brennan said Tuesday, as he announced a new effort to tackle the problem of a largely white workforce whose lack of diversity is undercutting the spy agency’s intelligence mission.

Brennan discussed the issue with a small group of reporters at CIA headquarters as the agency released a study that paints a stark picture of a CIA that does not reflect America. The CIA’s senior executive ranks are only 10.8 percent minority in a nation where non-whites comprise about 30 percent of the population.

The agency has seen the percentage of minorities hired slip since 2008, the study found, despite previous diversity pushes by past directors.

“We didn’t achieve the goals and objectives that we had as an institution,” Brennan said.

The director vowed to change course, promising to hold senior managers accountable for hiring and promoting minority candidates. That has not happened to date, said the study, which was led by Vernon Jordan, a prominent African-American figure in Washington who serves on CIA advisory boards.

Brennan acknowledged that some employees will greet his move with cynicism, having heard such rhetoric before.

“We’re not kidding,” he said. “This is real, this time.”