Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan was known for walking around headquarters wearing a rainbow lanyard to show support for the LGBT community and signal his commitment to diversity.
Brennan cited his legacy of diversity as one of his most important accomplishments while serving as head of the CIA, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Monday evening.
People’s racial and cultural backgrounds affect judgments and intelligence analysis, according to Brennan, which for him means that more employee diversity leads to more diversity in analysis and avoids the problem of “groupthink.”
“I just think that having those varied perspectives really adds great color and dimension and diversity to how we look at problems,” he said, noting that he grew up as a “white male from New Jersey.”
“It gets us away from groupthink,” he added.
More diversity, Brennan maintains, lessens the risk of intelligence disasters.
In the past, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of there being a constitutional right to gay marriage, Brennan sent out an email to LGBT employees at the CIA informing them that he was very pleased with the court’s decision.
Numerous current and former CIA officers told The Daily Beast in 2015 that Brennan’s commitment to the LGBT community is “not lip service.”
Brennan was the first director to attend a social gathering of LGBT employees at the agency.
The CIA developed a program in 2011 to specifically recruit LGBT officers. And in early 2016, the CIA released a diversity and inclusion plan to recruit minorities, both sexual and racial, as well as disabled people.
Brennan is set to hold a ceremony later this week applauding diversity initiatives.
Apparently, the number of LGBT people in the agency is such a major issue that Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris questioned Trump’s pick for CIA director — Mike Pompeo — about his views on the LGBT community, given that Pompeo opposed gay marriage.
Pompeo assured Harris that every CIA employee would be treated “in a way that is appropriate and equal.”
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