An intelligence community watchdog found that chat apps employed by the U.S. intelligence community had been systemically misused, with users sending messages that “contained transphobia, hate speech and misogynistic discussions.”
In a 2021 report written by the Office of the Inspector General (IG) for the Intelligence Community (IC), and obtained by the Washington Post via a Freedom of Information Act request, derogatory app messages were tied to different intelligence agency employees and contractors, including the CIA and National Reconnaissance Office.
According to the IG, user complaints pointed to messages that “discussed assaulting Thailand’s transgender sex workers,” per the report, while some users were banned from using Intelink Blogs (platforms mimicking WordPress and eChirp) over “anti-vaccination views.” The IG was also informed that individuals “wrote the January 6 Capitol riot was an FBI operation” and “demeaned transgender people,” according to the document.
The IG was also reportedly told that a contractor allegedly “baited” other users, and in one instance, the contractor baited an “IC individual into admitting the IC individual believed African Americans were criminals,” per the report, which also notes a subject of the investigation denied baiting posters.
Part of the report focused on the person who flagged the messages, and who was not authorized to request Intelink Instant Messaging (IIM) transcripts from administrators, or audit those communications, per the report.
The report clarified that the “motivation to identify and report bigotry and hate speech on IC systems is appropriate and desirable,” adding that “Improper use of IC communications can and should be reported through properly recognized channels within the IC.”
A June 22, 2022 message to intelligence employees obtained by WaPo found that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines and six intelligence agency leaders stated that they were taking measures to address the “inappropriate messages.”
In response to the offensive behavior, the message stated that they had imposed discipline and offered training, while also ensuring there was an accessible way to raise concerns of misuse on the chat apps.
“We are all committed to promoting a professional, productive, inclusive, and respectful culture where everyone is able to contribute to the best of their ability in our collective mission,” the message read.
An U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told WaPo that “while CIA does not comment on specific allegations, we value and promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. Our expectation is that everyone at CIA — staff officers and contractors alike — will treat each other and our IC colleagues with respect in all our interactions, including across all platforms.”
Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/transphobic-hate-speech-us-intelligence-apps-1234807943/