America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is hoping to recruit gays and lesbians into its ranks through a networking event at the LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

The event, titled “Career Opportunities with the CIA”, will be hosted on Wednesday night by the CIA and the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

“Have you ever thought about a career with the Central Intelligence Agency. Want to learn about service opportunities? Join us for an informative evening…” reads the blurb promoting the meeting.

“This is the first one ever,” Michael Barber, the CIA’s LGBT community outreach and liaison program manager, told the Miami Herald.

He explained that one of the aims of the event was to clear up misconceptions that gay people are still not able to apply for positions with the CIA.

“I look at my job as informing and educating about the CIA’s mission. And in the LGBT community, debunking those myths,” Barber said.

Gay people found it difficult to secure security clearances prior to 1995. That changed when President Bill Clinton signed an executive order that year barring discrimination in granting access to classified information “on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, disability or sexual orientation”.

Barber and gay CIA employees engineering development chief Bill French and technical information officer Tracey Ballard will speak about the benefits of working for the CIA at Wednesday’s event.

In 1996, Ballard founded the ANGLE (Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Employees and Allies) employee group, with the approval of the agency. It has more than 230 members.

Barber told the newspapers that he intends to hold similar LGBT networking events across the US in the future.

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