COSMETICS, THE CIA, AND COLLECTING DNA…April 10, 2016
...Just when you thought today's world couldn't possibly become any zanier or crazy, people start sending you articles about the CIA's interest in the cosmetics industry...yes, you read that correctly, the cosmetics industry. Indeed, so many people sent me versions of this article that my initial reaction to dismiss it as yet more bizarre internet conspiracy-vamping was brought up short. Consider this one, that, were he still alive, would delight the cockles of Allen Dulles' black blood-puming mechanism(using the word "heart" in the same sentence as "Allen Dulles" seems somewhat oxymoronic):
Here's the crux of the article:
KINCENTIAL SCIENCES, a company with an innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin, has caught the attention of beautybloggers on YouTube, Oprah’s lifestyle magazine, and celebrity skin care professionals. Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the firm has also attracted interest and funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a “formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.”
Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that 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 article goes on to point out that In-Q-Tel was promoted by CIA director George Tennant, and then we are told that Kincential Sciences, the company behind the skin-care skin-removal products, doesn't really know why the CIA is so interested in the company nor what the motivation is behind its interest:
“Our company is an outlier for In-Q-Tel,” Russ Lebovitz, the chief executive of Skincential Sciences, said during an interview with The Intercept. He conceded that the relationship might make for “an unusual and interesting story,” but said, “If there’s something beneath the surface, that’s not part of our relationship and I’m not directly aware. They’re interested here in something that can get easy access to biomarkers.”
Still, Lebovitz claimed he has limited knowledge of why In-Q-Tel selected his firm.
“I can’t tell you how everyone works with In-Q-Tel, but they are very interested in doing things that are pure science,” Lebovitz said. The CIA fund approached his company, telling him the fund shares an interest in looking at DNA extraction using the method pioneered by Skincential Sciences, according to Lebovitz.
Beyond that, Lebovitz said he was unsure of the intent of the CIA’s use of the technology, but the fund was “specifically interested in the diagnostics, detecting DNA from normal skin.” He added, “There’s no better identifier than DNA, and we know we can pull out DNA.”
Really!?!? Well I'm going to suggest some high octane specualtion here. For one thing, the CIA's interest is perfectly understandable even if only from the rather mundane context of the "war on terror". Having a quick easy-to-use adaptation of this technology to collect DNA at, say, airports, ports of entry, and so on, would be a perfect monitoring mechanism when coupled with the new on-the-spot DNA sequencing technologies we've also heard that is being developed. This technology would allow sequencing on the spot, without having to send samples to far off labs and wait days for the results. For tracking known or suspected terrorists or other criminals (or anyone else for that matter), such a technology would be an almost incalculable boon to the intelligence community, particularly when coupled with the already existing and pervasive electronic surveillance mechanisms.
But let me crawl wait out onto the end of the twig of high octane speculation here: such a technology and its widespread dissemination throughout the population using cosmetics would also seem to be a convenient way to collect DNA samples for far more sinister purposes, such as genetically-based bioweapons development. One could even go so far as to envision technologies planted in cosmetics or other "healthcare" products designed to implant nano-tracking devices that would be activated when they came into contact with a pre-programmed genetic signature.
The point is, let your mind roam freely here, and imagine what the folks at Langley and the Diabolically Apocalyptic Research Projects Agency (DARPA) might be 'brainstorming' over their beers and cigars in the drawing room. The final step, of course, would be remote sensing and sequencing of DNA, and that, I submit, is what they're really after, and that this is but a "step along the way," a way-station in the technology tree to that development.
See you on the flip side...