Jon Stewart Unearths the CIA’s Big Secret: Dorky Cafeteria Complaints

A not-so-groundbreaking look into lunchtime at the Central Intelligence Agency while America awaits details of how federal authorities peep into the lives of others.
Jul 17, 2014·
Michael Sugerman is a summer intern at TakePart and a student at the University of Michigan, where he reports for the school newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

Despite that our nation’s security apparatus spies on allies of the United States—sorry, Chancellor Merkel—and the CIA allegedly even spies on U.S. Senate staff, we don’t know much about how the agency operates. Good luck trying to find out so much as what those guys eat for lunch.

Until now.

In response to a FOIA request, the notoriously opaque government agency has revealed a treasure trove of employee complaints about the cafeteria food at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., according to MuckRock.

One complaint notes the shortcomings of a new brand of kielbasa on the lunch line: “Please change back to the previous brand. This is a Friday treat that I look forward to every week.”

Another notes disappointing attempts at international flavor: “I had the Russian meal today and am disappointed.... Please realize that many of us have really traveled to these countries, and when you provide food like you did today, it causes me not to support this kind of cuisine in the future.”

There were more, of course. As host Jon Stewart says in The Daily Show video above, “The emails were everything from preferring individual ketchup packets to pump boxes to inadequate almond portions at the breakfast cereal bar to Diet Pepsi coming out of the regular Pepsi spout. Fascinating. Apparently, at the CIA, even the sodas go undercover as other sodas.”

How trivial. MuckRock is an organization that aims for government transparency, and what’s sad is, these cafeteria reports are as transparent as the government seems to get these days.

The government doesn’t release information about the death tolls of drone strikes, though a bill to change this has passed in the House and is currently in the Senate. The National Security Agency secretly collects information stored by tech companies en masse.

As interesting as bland kielbasa may be, that it’s part of a conversation about transparency is pretty sad, isn't it?