FROM: Office of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
RE: Great Work On Pokémon Go


I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone on the extremely successful rollout of Operation Pokémon GO to Raise Public Morale. I know we had to hustle to speed up this launch by several weeks from its scheduled release on September 10th but it seems to have paid off. More people have downloaded this game in the last 72 hours than have voted in every Democratic primary combined.

It seemed crazy when we floated this idea last year, between Mass Shootings #188 and #189: could “augmented reality” really distract people from regular, awful reality? We took a bold gamble that it would, and it paid off!

Thank you for giving the American public something to engage with mindlessly after two Black men and five police officers were shot in cold blood within three days. It seemed, for a fraught 48 hours, like Americans would have to engage with the news, and as past history evidences, that’s not great for us. Luckily, we can leave that discussion to the talking heads; good, ordinary Americans can find solace in locating Jigglypuffs in public spaces.

In an unprecedented threat, it seemed even Twitter and Snapchat were getting away from us: a huge number of users were seriously grappling with police brutality and racial politics. Were it not for the power of ’90s nostalgia and dynamic animation, this may have been a turning point for these platforms. I am incredibly moved to see Twitter repopulated with hilarious photos of Pokémon in inopportune places, like a frying pan.

A couple of housekeeping notes for the forthcoming update:

  • Let’s ramp up the PokéStops in public squares and on main streets; many municipal leaders have said the user influx is really helping to disrupt public protests and visible civil disobedience.
  • Hold off on the in-app purchases; let’s keep the price point at zero so we can reach the maximum number of Americans who stand to engage substantially with current events.
  • We have been encouraged to plant Pokémon on Trump properties, and tacitly threatened with Twitter censure if we don’t. It’s not worth risking the user base loss, so let’s go ahead and knock this out – but nothing above a Pokédex of 12.

But those are minor tweaks at best. This really was one for the books, boys. I’d put it in the crisis distraction hall of fame, alongside Grease, Dorito Tacos, and The Bachelor. A world filled with adorable monsters is so vastly preferable to one filled with violent illustrations of structural injustice.

Let’s not rest on our laurels, however. The Minions AR game has a hard launch of November 7, one day before the presidential election. Universal Pictures expects a working prototype by summer’s end. Is it a tall order to surpass the inane animated cuteness of Pokémon GO? Of course. But you didn’t join the CIA to take the easy way out.

John Brennan
Director, Central Intelligence Agency