WTF: The CIA Is Funding Skincare Products That Collect DNA
Are your pores clogged with genetic footprints? Worry no more! Thanks to bankrolling from the CIA, your skin may soon be left feeling rejuvenated and primed for extensive DNA sampling.
Clearista’s Retexturizing Gel uses a patented formula in order to achieve a chemical peel look without those pesky acid burns. The CIA’s patronage, revealed by The Intercept, is seemingly driven by Clearista’s ability to remove skin cells using only a soluble detergent-based gel.
In its current form, DNA profiling is commonly performed via a buccal swab, an abrasive brush of the inner cheek. However, while the swab is technically non-invasive, a skin gel would be even less non-invasive. No need to wrestle with detainees’ clamped jaws! As seen in O, The Oprah Magazine! It even comes with a 30-day guarantee!
Swabbing is also hindered by the need for court orders. An endorsement found in a Clearista infomercial claims that the gel is like “a microdermabrasion in a bottle,” which sounds like exactly what the criminal court ordered. Courts be gone! Facials and skin rubs are limited only by the operating hours of your nearest medical spa.
If the CIA’s investment strategy sounds like James Bond’s wet dream, that’s intentional. The Agency’s venture capital branch, In-Q-Tel, is named after Q, the fictional geek who dutifully presented 007 with his latest gizmos. Ex-CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith told NPR that the company needed to “appeal to a wider audience,” drawing entrepreneurs’ eyes with a name that had “some sex to it.” What’s sexier than cosmetics?
Historically, In-Q-Tel has funded now-ubiquitous tech such as touch-screen technology, Google Earth’s satellite photography, and online security monitoring. But, even for In-Q-Tel, radiant skin is an offbeat mission objective. After speaking at a conference for In-Q-Tel partners, Russ Lebovitz, the head of Clearista’s parent company, Skincential Sciences, admitted that “Not only was I the odd man out, but almost every woman at the conference wanted to come up to me to talk about skin care.”
While the true motives behind the partnership are speculative, Lebovitz insists that they’re merely skin-deep. “If there’s something beneath the surface, that’s not part of our relationship and I’m not directly aware. [The CIA is] interested here in something that can get easy access to biomarkers.” DNA and Olay, a match made in heaven.
Images via Tumblr and Philly
Stay tuned to Milk for more on the CIA’s beautician operations.