Dhen the secret service CIA got into the podcast business, there was some amusement in America. What, one wondered, do they talk about with America’s top secret-mongers? the “Langley Files” (after the location of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia) provide an answer. Unfortunately, it turns out to be pretty meaningless.
The dramatic music podcast’s introduction promises “truths we can share” and stories “beyond Hollywood scripts and whispers in the shadows.” The word “this side” would be more appropriate. Anyway, the first episode was a surprisingly boring and a little embarrassing self-promotional show in which three CIA employees expounded in wooden bureaucratic manner the virtues of the famous, controversial agency that had become the target of political conspiracy theories. This has little to do with the “truth” that, according to a saying carved into the headquarters marble, “will set you free”.
The podcast with changing guests on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Central Intelligence Service is intended to open up and “demystify” the agency to a broad audience, as CIA Director William Burns said in the opening broadcast. Burns spoke to the moderators “Dee” and “Walter”, two CIA employees who identified themselves as such because they repeatedly spoke of events “at our place” and could not emphasize enough what a great honor the boss’s presence was be. Although the well-known man appreciates spy films with characters like James Bond, Jason Bourne or Jack Ryan, he immediately made it clear that in the real world of spies, it is by no means loners in fast cars who defuse bombs and save the world every day. Spying is a “team sport,” Burns said, revealing that he always drives his 10-year-old Subaru to the speed limit. Does such an admission make the CIA attractive to young people, as the agency hopes?
No longer dominated by “pale, male and Yale”.
In the second episode there was a brief historical context: the beginnings of the CIA after the Second World War in a minute-long outline that came across as dry as information from an advertising brochure, then the transition to a conversation with two other employees, “Kathleen” and ” Bonnie,” who are in charge of the 75th anniversary celebrations. Again, involuntary comedy appeared: the CIA had changed over the years, it was said, from “typewriters and pneumatic tubes” to an agency that was no longer dominated by “pale, male and Yale”, i.e. white men with Yale degrees , but boasts of its ethnic diversity. “We want to pause and look at the achievements of this agency, the heroes that we have here,” said Bonnie or Kathleen. “We have to keep the good and bad things in our past in mind so that we can learn from them.” What that might be was not mentioned.
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