Review by NoraCorrigan
In September 2022, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) introduced a new podcast, The Langley Files, as a way to connect Americans into their ongoing private world. In recent years, the CIA has lost approval rating due to the disconnec to the public and past intelligence errors. The Langley Files is an attempt to not only educate Americans what the CIA’s role is, but also a way for the CIA to boost their image.
As of Oct. 13, the CIA has produced three episodes of The Langley Files. The first episode was fairly short, about 18 minutes in total, and included an interview with the CIA’s Director Bill Burns. Instead of a fascinating episode with secrets being shared, Burns really only dispels the mysticism of the CIA. Later on in the episode, he talks about the qualifications a CIA of officer must have.
The next episode focused on the celebration of 75 years of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Langley Files is not only a mode of connecting with the American people, but also celebrating 75 years of the institution. In contrast to the first episode, the second episode details specific historical moments in the CIA’s history such as the success of capturing Osama Bin Laden and the foundation of the agency itself. This episode includes an interview with two members of the planning committee of the 75th anniversary celebration and is about 22 minutes in length.
The most recent episode is solely devoted to explaining what it takes to be a CIA of cer. The recruitment director for the CIA details the unnecessary skepticism most applicants have before they enter the agency. He mentions that one must be qualified in many different ways, but that the CIA also needs general workers such as Human Resources management or even financial management. This episode is about 28 minutes in length.
Overall, The Langley Files was not what I had hoped it to be. I figured a podcast from the CIA would contain interesting, never before told stories with a thriller aspect to it. However, it really only felt like a plug for the CIA, which, in its defense, was exactly what its intent was.
The CIA is looking to boost its employment services, and they are using the podcast as a way to connect with potential employees. Although there have only been three episodes, it is clear that the focus is not on exposing crucial secrets of the CIA, but rather improving their past image in order to secure a stable future.
In terms of recommendation, I would not recommend you listen to this podcast unless you are someone who is interested in the CIA or government adjacent programs. So far it really only is a podcast for recruitment purposes, not entertainment.
The Langley Files can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or any other platforms in which you might listen to podcasts. Episodes typically air on Thursdays and range from 15-30 minutes in length.