Accuracy in Media

While the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ostensibly exists to protect America’s national security interests by trafficking in foreign intelligence, the organization also actively recruits from and financially sponsors LGBT events.

According to, the “CIA was a sponsor and hosted a recruitment booth for the Hampton Roads Pride Festival in Norfolk, VA.”

The CIA logo appears under the heading for “$2,500+ Partners” in the June 2016 “Hampton Roads Pride Guide;” the next level of sponsorship begins at $5,000. also states that the “CIA was a sponsor and hosted a recruitment booth for the Capital Pride Festival in Washington, D.C.” The 2016 “Capital Pride Guide” does not list the CIA as a “sponsor,” but as a “Pride Partner” and a festival participant. The CIA participated in this festival previously as well: An article published on in 2014 states that the “CIA has participated in the DC Capital Pride Festival for the past three years … ”

The CIA is listed as a “silver” sponsor of the oSTEM conference; silver level sponsorship costs $10,000 according to the “2016 oSTEM Sponsorship Packet.” This packet explains:

“Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) is a national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).”

The sponsorship packet indicates that the CIA also sponsored in 2015, although the level of that sponsorship is not specified. An article on titled, “CIA Serves as Corporate Sponsor for National LGBT Conference” reveals that the CIA first sponsored oSTEM in 2012.

The CIA is listed as a “Champion” level sponsor of the “Out & Equal 2016 Workplace Summit” and the FBI, NASA, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement are listed as “Advocate” level sponsors, however, the actual amount funding donated by these agencies is unclear because the Summit also offers a lower cost “Government Sponsorship” which these agencies could have selected.

When Accuracy in Media emailed Out & Equal Workplace Advocates to inquire about the amount of money donated by each of these four government agencies, the organization responded: “Our policy is not to discuss specific details of any of our sponsors or participants, and you may instead wish contact these organizations directly.” While the actual amount of sponsorship donations given by each agency is unclear, according to a graphic, the Champion sponsorship costs $40,000, the Advocate sponsorship costs $25,000, and the Government Sponsorship costs $15,000.

CIA Director John Brennan spoke at the “Gala Dinner Celebration” at the Out & Equal Summit and he also spoke at the Economist’s “Pride and Prejudice 2016,” an event described as “The business case for LGBT diversity and inclusion.” According to a press release, “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey and DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] Director Vincent Stewart … ” were slated to speak at the 2016 Intelligence Community (IC) Pride Summit. The CIA touts its “Participation in the Annual IC Pride Summit, this year at the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

The press release about the IC Pride Summit advertised “‘breakout sessions” [sic] on five topics:  ‘Seniors [senior officers] Helping Drive Change,’ ‘LGBT Ally Training,’ ‘Extended Enterprise Management:  Getting Inclusive,’ ‘Boots to Rainbow Suits:  Successfully Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life’ and ‘Building Trans Inclusivity.’”

Former DIA Director and newly appointed Trump National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn participated in a DIA “Pride Month event June 18” in 2014 that featured, “Kristin Beck, the first openly transgender retired Navy SEAL … ”

The CIA’s employee organization called “ANGLE” is the “Agency Network for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Allies.” “Founded in 1996, ANGLE has spent two decades working with CIA policymakers on matters pertaining to the CIA’s LGBT employees and their families.” One of the ways the Agency says it “celebrated 20 years of Pride at CIA” is with the “ANGLE Exhibit featuring a timeline of major LGBT milestones both inside and outside the CIA interwoven with personal stories of LGBT employees.”

Part of the exhibit explains, “The LGBT Community Outreach Program in the CIA’s Diversity and Inclusion Office attracts mission-critical talent by attending events and partnering with groups across the country.” Images of several logos accompany this statement, including the logos for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, oSTEM, South by Southwest and two others. also states that the Agency, “Premiered the internal documentary “ANGLE of Ascent”, made in house showcasing the leadership that was needed to change the internal culture of the CIA into a more diverse and inclusive one.”

The CIA exists to gather and assess intelligence in order to protect America’s national security. Americans must decide whether they believe the CIA’s involvement in recruiting from and funding LGBT events serves to advance those objectives.

Alex Nitzberg is an intern at the American Journalism Center at Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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