Rep. Darrell Issa Addresses CIA Employees
Rep. Darrell Issa of California visited CIA Headquarters on Tuesday to speak about the importance of having officers of Near Eastern descent serve in the Intelligence Community.
“I’m here today because it is extremely important for Americans to become globalists,” said Rep. Issa, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “And those who have an affinity, a nexus, to other areas of the world, or can develop a nexus, are more valuable in this Agency than anywhere else.”
Congressman Issa, one of only a few members of Congress of Arab descent, has traveled extensively, including two dozen trips to the Middle East. Since the beginning of this year, he has visited with Agency officers in Africa, Europe, and the Near East. During an hour-long session with employees, he encouraged CIA to gain a deep understanding of its targets so that it can send the best officers to the field to collect information the United States needs.
“All of you here have a challenge, which is to get the right people in the right places to get the right person to say what we don’t know,” Rep. Issa said. Sensitivity to other cultures, historic ties to foreign countries, and skill in speaking foreign languages can only improve the ability of intelligence agencies to do their job, he added.
Congressman Issa’s visit was sponsored by the Near East Affinity Group, an employee group that helps promote cultural awareness and assists in the recruitment and advancement of CIA officers with a Near Eastern background.
In welcoming remarks, Rickey Jasper, Special Assistant to the Director of CIA for Diversity Plans and Programs, thanked Rep. Issa for his work on the House oversight committee and underscored the Agency’s commitment to a diverse workforce. “With our efforts to recruit Americans of Near Eastern descent, the face of our workforce is changing, and that is as it should be,” Jasper said. “If we are to meet our mission, we need people of all backgrounds and ethnicities in our organization.”