Here is an unlikely pairing: the CIA has invested in a skincare product. Why? Because the intelligence agency clearly wants to stay hip on all the latest beauty trends and make sure their employees’ skin glows, of course. Ha! Nope, the real reason is to collect DNA because your beauty routine needed a Big Brother update.
Popular and apparently multifaceted skincare line Clearista has attracted beauty bloggers and the CIA alike. In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, has invested in Skincential Sciences, the company behind the miracle product that wipes away your blemishes and “removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection,” The Intercept reveals.
The CEO of Skincential Sciences was not completely certain of the In-Q-Tel’s intent for funding the beauty brand except to acknowledge In-Q-Tel is “interested in doing things that are pure science [and] in the diagnostics, detecting DNA from normal skin.”
“There’s no better identifier than DNA, and we know we can pull out DNA,” Russ Lebovitz said.
Lebovitz suggested that the technology could be used for law enforcement purposes like crime scene identification or drug testing, but the CEO remained calmly ambiguous about The Intercept’s strange finding.
“If there’s something beneath the surface, that’s not part of our relationship and I’m not directly aware,” Lebovitz said.
In-Q-Tel declined to give an interview (despite having participated in them in the past) and The Intercept noted the sheer suspicion of the group’s activities, having kept most of their business dealings behind closed doors.
“It has often kept key details of its activities out of public view, beyond required annual reports,” The Intercept writes. “After a SecureDrop source told The Intercept about a gathering in San Jose for In-Q-Tel executives and start-up companies backed by the fund, The Intercept attempted to attend, but was denied access.”
Yeah, definitely no funny business going on.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jason Reed