4 CIA Myths We Often Encounter

Among U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the CIA is probably the most fictionalized. Determined to entertain, movies and television shows often portray the CIA in a highly sensationalized fashion. CIA officers are given superhuman abilities. Events that rarely – if ever – occur in real life missions are often depicted to up the “entertainment factor.” Here are a few of the most common CIA myths that Hollywood all too commonly dramatized:

Myth #1 – CIA agents get to use lots of cool, high-tech spy gear while doing their job.

As an intelligence-gathering agency, it’s no secret that CIA agents work with advanced technologies. Developing sneaky spy gear is not a top priority for The Agency’s engineers and scientists, however. Most technology the CIA is working on is classified; but in a rare public appearance a year ago, the agency’s CTO, Gus Hunt, mentioned five tech priorities for the organization: secure mobility, computing as a service, data analytics, cloud management, and security as a service.  Certainly not too exciting when you put it that way.

Myth #2 – In order to join the CIA, you need to be a black belt in karate, a sharpshooter, and have a body that can both withstand electricity and outrun sports cars.

Contrary to what television producers may want you to think, possessing superhuman qualities is not a requirement for joining the CIA. Agents are all exceptional individuals who excel in their respected fields; their skillsets, however, don’t necessarily include unyielding physical strength.

Myth #3 – You need to be multilingual to work for the CIA.

The CIA is always looking to recruit candidates with the experience and cultural awareness that comes from living and traveling abroad; however this isn’t an absolute requirement for being hired. CIA candidates pursuing jobs in Clandestine Services will benefit from being proficient in any one of these 11 languages: Korean, Pashto, Russia, Somali, Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Turkish, Kurdish, Persian or Urdu.

Myth #4 – CIA officers are prohibited from using social media.

This may be surprising for some, but employees of the CIA are allowed to use social media as long as they do it outside working hours. Guidelines still exists, however, for their own protection. For instance, CIA officers are allowed to share photos and personal travel notes in their social media accounts, but posting details of their projects and work travels is strictly prohibited.