Although the Central Intelligence Agency does not record how many divorces occur among its employees, those with connections to the agency claim its divorce rate is surprisingly high. They often blame the agency's emphasis on secrecy for its apparent proclivity for divorce.
One retired officer who was employed by the CIA for over 20 years and now lives in Virginia says he learned about the number of divorces in the agency several years ago. The officer, who asked not to be named in order to protect his family, says he saw the figures after requesting them from the CIA's human resources in 2005.
The officer claims to have asked for the data because he was concerned about the pressures facing CIA officers serving in the Middle East in the aftermath of Sept. 11, as well as the related problems affecting those officers' families. While he could not produce specific figures, he says he told his officers not to take unaccompanied tours of duty twice in a row, fearing the negative effect it could have on their marriages and family life.
Even a former CIA director says he is concerned about the divorce rate within the agency, though he was also unable to provide specifics. He said he and his wife wanted to know how significant of a factor divorce represented in the agency's ranks after hearing multiple stories about the frequency of failed marriages. "But privacy laws prevented us from getting accurate information. The real answer is we don't know what is true about the divorce rate," he explained.
A CIA representative admitted that the agency's high-stress work environment can have negative effects on relationships, but noted that many CIA marriages last for years. The CIA currently operates a program aimed at providing support for the families of CIA employees serving in war zones.
Source: Washington Post, "CIA divorces: The secrecy when spies split," Ian Shapira, March 13, 2012