Millions of children around the world probably got a new computer for Christmas, among other presents. Many will use them to play games dealing – sometimes in a gory way – with crime, war or espionage. But it is difficult to know how many might have hooked up to the Central Intelligence Agency’s website, where a specific “Homepage for Kids” – divided into two sections, for younger and older children – has been designed to appeal to them. Yes, the CIA, like many other United States government departments – including the White House and the FBI – has its own children’s corner to familiarise young American citizens with the intricacies of government and/or to cultivate potential future recruits.
It makes sense: we live in a consumer-driven society where institutions must groom future consumers almost from the cradle to prepare for any product available in the marketplace – including jobs which (since intelligence can be a risky trade) could lead them to their grave.