US Intel’s New Secret Weapon Against Terror: The Dictionary of Political Correctness

Mark Poprocki /
Mark Poprocki /

Looks like the US intelligence honchos are playing language police now. The United States’ premier intelligence organization is waving its magic wand of political correctness and banishing terms like “radical Islamists” and “jihadist” from their spy-speak. Apparently, calling a spade a spade is just too darn offensive for our Muslim-American pals and might even make the bad guys feel bad about themselves. Who knew fighting terrorism required tiptoeing around word choices? Welcome to the world of spy semantics.

The recent policy change was communicated through an internal language guide. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has taken up the crucial task of spearheading a movement to eliminate a range of expressions from the intelligence community’s vernacular that are believed to perpetuate stereotypes or have the potential to incite racial bias. This effort aims to promote a more inclusive and equitable workspace in the intelligence community, where all individuals are respected and treated fairly regardless of race or ethnicity.

The new language policy was formed after engaging with academics and community activists. It was found that the government’s use of offensive terms was collectively cringe-worthy. This feedback emphasizes the perceived clash between American identity and Islamic beliefs, a misconception the intelligence community aims to rectify.

Among the list of terms to be avoided are “blacklisted,” “cakewalk,” “brown bag,” “grandfathered,” and “sanity check,” each with its own historical or implied connotation considered harmful or insensitive.

For example, “blacklisted” is critiqued for implicitly valuing black as negative and white as positive, whereas “cakewalk” is traced back to a dance associated with enslaved people. The term “brown bag” is linked to historical tests for skin color within the African American community. ODNI’s directives come as part of a broader initiative to foster a more inclusive environment, detailed in the agency’s diversity-focused publication.

As part of its commitment to inclusivity, the publication outlines the problematic nature of terms unrelated to race or religion but considered insensitive for other reasons, such as “sanity check,” which could belittle those with mental health issues.

Not everyone is jumping on board with this approach. Some folks, who clearly missed the memo on sensitivity, are labeling these efforts as excessively politically correct or an annoying embrace of the “woke” culture. They’re fretting that these policies might just distract the intelligence community from, you know, its actual job.

Congressional opponents, particularly from the Republican party, have expressed concerns that prioritizing such initiatives could weaken the nation’s security apparatus, proposing cuts to diversity and inclusion program funding.

The debate extends into how the intelligence community engages with topics of gender identity and expression. An article within the ODNI publication shares an intelligence officer’s personal reflection on how cross-dressing has enriched his professional skills, offering unique insights into empathy and understanding diverse perspectives, further illustrating the complex discussions around identity within the agency.

The publication also endeavors to clarify the importance of language in shaping perceptions and relationships within the intelligence community and the broader context of national security. By advocating for a more careful selection of words, the initiative seeks to distinguish between Islamic beliefs and terrorist groups’ actions, aiming to prevent the alienation of Muslim American colleagues and the broader community.

Isn’t it ironic how the intelligence community now prides itself on being the bastion of political correctness? Their latest publication isn’t just about language; oh no, it’s all about diving headfirst into the touchy-feely topics of empathy, understanding, and inclusivity. Because, you know, that’s exactly what we need from our spies – sensitivity training. Sure, let’s waste time and resources on this feel-good nonsense instead of actual intelligence work. Good job on the micro-shift, folks. The terrorists and foreign adversaries are shaking in their boots at the thought of our newfound “respectful and understanding” professionalism.