On Monday evening, the Central Intelligence Agency released a new recruitment ad aimed at the next generation of college graduates. In an attempt to appeal to younger folks, the video goes out of its way to invoke the language of self-care, equality, and intersectional identity common in millennial circles and present a contrasting image of a new Central Intelligence Agency to the popular perception of a bunch of old white guys in a smoke-filled room toppling Latin American governments on behalf of the Chiquita Banana corporation.
Instead, it will be a first-generation daughter of immigrants and a mother of two with anxiety who will be toppling Latin American governments on behalf of the Chiquita Banana corporation. What progress!
"I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world.
Command your space. Mija, you are worth it."
— CIA (@CIA) April 28, 2021
The ad immediately provoked widespread mockery and disgust from both left-wing and right-wing circles on social media. Left-wingers rolled their eyes at the cynical attempt to appropriate the language of liberation and fumed at the brazen declaration that the CIA refuses to apologize for any of the torture, murders, and chaotic violence they have inflicted upon the rest of the world since the end of the Second World War.
The right-wing, of course, sputtered in indignance that the CIA had presented themselves in any way that wasn’t comically overexaggerated hypermasculine aggression. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has taken it upon himself to be on the front lines of every asinine culture war faux-controversy, complained that “we’ve come a long way from Jason Bourne,” who of course is a fictional character from the movies.
Inevitably, the tone-deaf Cruz failed to see the irony in that the entire plot of the Bourne movies are about the CIA trying to kill Jason Bourne to keep him from exposing their illegal activities.
If you’re a Chinese communist, or an Iranian Mullah, or Kim Jong Un…would this scare you?
We’ve come a long way from Jason Bourne. https://t.co/HW8Eh9UdXa
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 4, 2021
Cruz’s response to the CIA tweet started a social media storm all on its own, racking up over 6,000 replies as prominent commentators weighed in on his curious decision to use a fictional character to complain about real-life agency recruitment.
Jason Bourne is a fictional character who illegally assassinated people after being programmed to do so through torture. Also, guys who flee their state to go to Mexico during an ice storm because it’s mildly inconvenient should just take a seat on “toughness” #FatWolverine
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) May 4, 2021
Donald Trump’s friendliness towards North Korea was a major theme in the criticism from liberal hawks, who immediately descended into the absurd “who-can-be-more-performatively-belligerent-in-foreign-policy” competition that always erupts whenever Trump gets brought up.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 4, 2021
What helps our adversaries the most is when U.S. elected officials publicly demean our intelligence agencies. You won’t see Putin or Kim Jong Un denigrating theirs. But they’ll be happy to use your tweet for propaganda. Thanks for helping them out, Ted!
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 4, 2021
Jason Bourne may not be real, but Naveed Jamali is — and this brown, first generation, and non-traditional former spy bested the best Russia could throw at us. So I’d say people like me can be plenty dangerous to our adversaries, Ted.
— Naveed Jamali (@NaveedAJamali) May 4, 2021
Those further to the left were quick to reassure Cruz that they had no doubt that the CIA would continue its assassinations, drone wars, coup support, and all the other nefarious activities they are infamous for.
Don’t worry, I’m sure the CIA will continue to scare people by assassinating foreign heads of state and murdering union leaders and all that other wonderful stuff they do
— Curtis🌹 (@FowlCurtis) May 4, 2021
No matter the issue, Ted Cruz can always be counted on to find a way to humiliate himself in his desperate attempts to stay relevant in a post-Trump America.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.