CIA's classified KKK joke

CIA’s classified KKK joke

Agency archives finally reveal the “tasteless joke” that was deemed too sensitive for the American public

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

In the mid-’80s, stories started circulating around Washington about an investigation into an alleged Ku Klux Klan meeting at Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) headquarters in Langley.

While the Agency insisted that the whole thing was a “tasteless joke” that had gotten out of hand, the public was left with no choice but to take their word for it - the report containing the investigation’s findings was classified.

Leaving aside that an agency whose whole MO is deception asking you to take trust them isn’t a great look, CIA records, fortunately, are subject to a 25-year mandatory declassification review. That report went through that review and ended up in CREST.

The actual details to emerge from the investigation should be familiar to anyone who’s been on the internet - nerds were making “ironic” racist jokes about the Klan that quickly bordered on unironic racist jokes.

A little more worrying were two other racial incidents that involved “informal discussions” about the Klan, one of which resulted in a mandatory sensitivity seminar for both the white and black employee involved.

The report concludes that no serious evidence was found that any CIA employees were moonlighting with the Klan. Which, the report wants to make total clear, would be a dealbreaker.

While spies denouncing racists is a heartwarming sentiment, it’s not exactly an issue of national security. Maybe don’t make us wait a quarter of a century next time, CIA?

Read the full report embedded below.


Image via Warner Bros