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Obama shaped CIA to boost his political agenda, hired leftist activists, former agent says

The politicization of the non-partisan agency first became an issue in the 1990s, the former official said.

Published: December 26, 2023 11:40am

Former CIA agent John Gentry said that the CIA became politicized under the Obama administration with the hiring of Democratic activists who shifted the intelligence agency leftward. 

Gentry, a Georgetown University adjunct professor who served in the CIA from 1978 to 1990, details the agency's political changes in his new book, "Neutering the CIA: Why U.S. Intelligence Versus Trump Has Long-Term Consequences."

The politicization of the non-partisan agency first became an issue in the 1990s under CIA analyst Robert Gates, who later went on to become defense secretary for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Gentry says. At the time, Gates ordered reports to be skewed to support elected officials' political narratives, according to The Washington Times

Obama and his appointees "made and institutionalized significant changes, largely by creating new structures, policies, and incentives designed to alter organizational cultures in ways congruent with Obama’s political agenda," Gentry wrote. 

He said that Democratic activists hired by Obama "shifted leftward the collective, politically salient worldview of the intelligence bureaucracy." 

Gentry also calls the CIA a "center of partisan political activity." 

This shift was illustrated in the 2016 election, with the most prominent example occurring with the embrace of the since discredited Christopher Steele dossier.

"While activists tried hard to keep observers’ focus on Trump and his exceptionalism, the preponderance of evidence points strongly to the continued existence of a politicized [intelligence community] that will cause problems for years to come — long after Trump has left the political scene," Gentry said. 

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