CIA Web-Site & Hiring Practices : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Copy of Wired News Article:

Uncle Sam Wants Spooks by Arik Hesseldahl

4:00 a.m. 26.Oct.98.PST With the Cold War over and United States intelligence agencies in flux, both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency have begun to struggle with an issue plaguing the private sector: how to hire and retain talented employees.

In a world that increasingly uses computer networks to communicate and transfer information, the agencies are specifically looking for people who can navigate the Net and other networks.

The CIA launched the most ambitious hiring program in the agency's history earlier this year, and it is expected to hire record numbers of case officers between now and 2005.

Along with a new, Java-heavy recruiting section on the agency's home page, the agency is advertising widely in magazines like The Economist and recruiting on college campuses and within the military.

"Our recruiting efforts are much more focused than they have been in recent years and we have a better idea of our target audience," said CIA spokeswoman Anya Gilsher. "We're facing increasingly difficult challenges like terrorism, mass destructive weapons, and narcotics. These are all very difficult targets, which require innovative approaches and a talented work force."

Computer programmers and engineers are as in demand in the intelligence business as they are in any other industry, Gilsher said.

"We're looking for people who can deal with different computer systems and software. Someone who is creative in their ability to handle and manipulate information technology and build programs that could be useful to us," she said.

While Gilsher would not go into specifics, an article in The New York Times in June suggests that the proliferation of computer networks around the globe has, for example, complicated the ability of agents to slip in and out of countries covertly using fake passports.

It's a different story for the National Security Agency, the country's super-secret signals intelligence agency. In an unusually candid series of answers to written questions, the NSA said it is struggling with one of the same issues plaguing the private sector: employee retention.

A recent article in the magazine Government Executive said the agency is suffering a "brain drain," losing some of its best code-makers and code-breakers to the private sector. In a written statement, NSA spokesman Patrick Weadon confirmed that the agency is working harder than it has in the past to attract and keep its employees.

"NSA, like most of the nation's IT community, has had significant challenges in hiring and retaining IT personnel," Weadon wrote. "Having said that, NSA has been successful attracting computer professionals with the stimulating nature of the work, student programs, and the total benefits package."

The NSA also happens to be the country's single-biggest employer of mathematicians, and expects to hire more than 100 Ph.D.-level mathematicians in the next three years.

Like the CIA, the NSA has launched a recruitment Web page, which has attracted 20 percent of its recent resumes. The NSA also posts its job openings on employment Web sites like Job Web and Career Mosaic.

The agency has been aggressively marketing itself to students, offering several internship programs. One program gives college juniors 12 weeks of summer work experience, after which they return to school for their senior year with a job offer in hand. Another program allows college students to alternate working for the agency and going to school each semester.

Some personnel also qualify for a fully funded graduate studies program, during which they can go to school full time for a year and still earn a salary, provided they commit to work for NSA for three years.

NSA employees aren't likely to take jobs for the money, however. Computer science jobs at the NSA pay between US$35,000 and $70,000 a year, much less than in the private sector.

"IT professionals seek out the NSA due to the unique nature of our work," Weadon wrote. "This has made us successful in attracting computer professionals over the past several years, and we believe this appeal will continue into the future."

Not everyone agrees. Steve Aftergood, a research analyst for the Federation of American Scientists, said the allure of working in the intelligence community is wearing thin.

"The intelligence agencies have an unattractive air about them," Aftergood said. "They have an aura of failure about them, especially in recent years. Rightfully or wrongly, they have been attacked as incompetent and even obsolete. Those charges may or may not be true, but they cast a long shadow over the agencies in the public mind."

In recent years, the CIA has faced its share of problems within and criticisms from without. This year, for example, the agency was criticized for not having predicted nuclear weapons tests by India and Pakistan. In 1994, CIA employee Aldrich Ames was caught after revealing the identities of CIA operatives in the Soviet Union over the course of nine years. For its part, the NSA has been criticized for its efforts to keep strong encryption systems out of the hands of private citizens. Both the CIA and NSA still maintain a technological edge over the private sector, but Aftergood said that lead is shrinking.

"The reality is that the private sector now competes in many areas that used to be the exclusive domain of the intelligence agencies," he said, citing encryption, computer software implementation, and analysis of foreign military and economic conditions as examples.

The schools that train the spies and intelligence analysts of the future are placing a new importance on learning to use the Net and other online resources to get the job done. Robert Heibel, director of the Research/Intelligence Analyst Training Program at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, said students get a thorough exposure to the Net and computers in general.

The program trains students to "drink from the firehose," to glean important nuggets of information as tools for decision makers, Heibel said.

Graduates of the program have gone on to become analysts for the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies swimming in the intelligence community's alphabet soup, he said.

"We teach a concept called open source and public domain intelligence -- that is, taking what is in the public domain and creating new knowledge by analysis and interpretation," he said. "If you spend 20 percent of your intelligence budget on open source intelligence you'll be able to answer 70 percent of the boss's questions."

Applying for a job with the CIA is easy: Send a resume. The CIA scans the resumes it gets using optical character recognition technology. An applicant for either agency must also submit to a thorough background investigation, a polygraph test, and medical and psychological examinations, said Gilsher, who went through the process herself. The process currently takes five to six months, but the agency is hoping to shorten that to three or four months, she said.

-- Diane J. Squire (, October 29, 1998


whut du u c going on hear ... read between the lines

-- ? (, October 30, 1998.

"We teach a concept called open source and public domain intelligence -- that is, taking what is in the public domain and creating new knowledge by analysis and interpretation," he said. "If you spend 20 percent of your intelligence budget on open source intelligence you'll be able to answer 70 percent of the boss's questions."

Uh, spooks love this site? Happy halloween.

-- !! (, October 30, 1998.

The CIA is researching Y2K. This discussion forum is one of their newsfeeds. They want to know who's who. We're all in their database by now. They know what you've written.

-- anon (, October 31, 1998.

It's OK, anon. Even the CIA encourages preparation:

"As part of the agency's increased interest in the Y2K program, some CIA employees have been briefed on preparing themselves individually for potential fallout. They were being advised to pay their bills early in December 1999 to avoid possible processing problems, keep cash on hand in case automatic teller machines failed and lay in extra blankets in case of a blackout on a cold New Year's Eve night, Burns said."

-- Gayla Dunbar (, October 31, 1998.

But have the CIA found out about that Canadian invasion of Texas yet? Should we tell them? Should we tell the Canadians that nobody would mind if they took CA instead of TX?

Would the Canadians taking over CA notice that they turned the right way (instead of the left, or wrong way) at I-20 and ended up at the left-hand coast? Are the Canadians confused yet? Have they figured out how to pay taxes yet in US dollars rather Canadian twopences and shiliings and ruples and inscruples? Should we tell them about the IRS? Will they be confused after we tell about the IRS? Will they lose their scruples talking to the IRS? Will they be confused after we show them the IRS forms? After we show them the IRS forms, will we ever get them to come back, or will they stay away forever?

Should we tell them about CA at all? Not to shoot any arrows at CA or Sasketsawaeveritiscalled of course....

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 31, 1998.

The beauty of open source and public domain intelligence -- that is, taking what is in the public domain and creating new knowledge by analysis and interpretation -- is the any smart group of people with no budget, and a bunch of connected computers can do the same thing too. Vote Internet for President -- the great equalizer!

Hey, CIA keep some of your focus on the international nuke-nicks. Were counting on you to do your part for Y2K. Care to contribute openly to this forum old threaders?


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 31, 1998.


Texas too?!?!?!!! CRAP!!! We've got our hands full here in Florida, they are insidious buggers aren't they! The only respite we get is that since they are such terrible drivers they mostly crash on the way here. Attrition man, pray for attrition!

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 31, 1998.

Hey Unc, Who needs attrition? At the exchange rate you give my Canadian dollar (or scruple/ruple or whatever) I'd rather stay in the "True North strong and FREE!

-- Lois Knorr (, November 01, 1998.

Attrition heh?

I like it, except that GA is north of FL. Wouldn't that imply some of the attrit's would attrit up in these necks of the woods? If we assume a ratio of say 1 attrit per pine tree hit by the attritee, I'd say we could take out our share (maybe 20-25 million max.) - provided the attritee's hit pine trees and not RV's.

Unless the attritee's and RV's were equally considered attrituable. Then the postulated attrition could occur even further North. I tell ya' its up to the fine citizens of IL and IN and KY to again make a stand do their fair share to defend this fair country.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 01, 1998.

How much *is* a Canadian peso worth, anyway?

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, Utah USA) (, November 01, 1998.

In an uncertain, time bound, pre-Y2K world, it is a distinct competitive advantage to be quite psychic. Saves time. Makes things rather timeless.

Search Suggestion: Follow the coincidences, leads and clues, as they "pop up" unexpectedly in your day-to-day activities. Be aware. What flags you as "curious?" What intrigues you?

Many of us suspect a higher power is coaching this Y2K ballgame. It can be assisted by a large ground crew following their intuitions. The repercussions are way bigger than you know. We are all in this together.

-- (, November 01, 1998.

Well, if any "higher power" is trying to coach us, I much rather "he/she/it/they" would get to the point.

The suspense is killing me. maybe we should get our revenge and refuse to cooperate with the "master planner." You know, change the subject, go off on tangents, confuse the issues, mispell things, little things like that. Obscure the real issue. Get mean and petty at times, quibble about minor items.

The master planner would of course try to keep us track - correct spelling, demand good grammer, finsh our sentences... act like a school teacher - real mean and bossy - assign homework too. Stuff to lookup. Things to do. Might even take role, ask who's missing. Make we stay in line, stop arguing......

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 02, 1998.

Thanks a LOT, Robert!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 02, 1998.

Did I say something? Who me? What, me worry?

I didn't have my hand raised....not me, no never, I didn't do it.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 02, 1998.

Not that it's particularly relevant but as a general information contribution, it's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsey in snide.

-- Hardliner (, November 02, 1998.

The point is, that a lot of simple people doing something positive, might be able to make a difference. Dont read things into this that arent there. When I talk about a higher power I mean the Divine kind, okay? Just that one that each religion has written a different book about. Very simple.

For my part, I just dont want to see your version of a 10. Simple? There is no big hidden agenda here. The folks mentioned in the first post see spooks everywhere.

Last night in my hometown, I walked through an area with hundreds of families and kids and houses decorated for halloween. It was like an open-air shopping mall. They were greeting one another with Hi neighbor. Great costume! Lots of laughing, talking, giggling and kids getting candy. Id like to see those people have a good year next year. And the year after that. Very simple.

I dont even remotely care if Im involved in the Y2K get-the-word-out campaign. Too many people, like congress, are focused on the wrong topic. Simple? Makes me sick. Especially makes me sick when someone writes a book, points readers at a web-site, then talks about guns and preparing their home bunkers. (Id much rather live on a mountain and forget those people exist). Simple? There ARE other options. Mobilizing the people in the limelight, with good solutions, is just one way. There are lots of ways.

Please just dont take us all down with your ship headed for that iceberg? Simple?

If someone who really knows whats going on and still doesnt give the people in this country a chance to make better pre-planned contingencies, then in the words of Uncle on another thread We are doomed.

That thought really saddens me. Simple? I guess I hoped for better from them. Y2K is just too big and too soon. Call me an optimist. Silly me.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 02, 1998.

I sometimes wish i could have as much faith in human good nature as Diane seems to. I tend to swing between thinking that maybe there is some good ole fashioned common sense (or even just some good ole fashioned goodness) in the masses-that they would look out for each other, and work towards creating something better-and looking around me at the rush, vapid consumerism, and almost epidemic selfishness (and those are the less lethal characteristics!). Maybe i did spend too much time as a paramedic in Oakland and San Fran... Sometimes it's quite hard to see the inherent good in people generally that others such as Diane see. Diane- Though i don't always personally feel what you write about, i really appreciate the opposing viewpoint-if nothing else, it reminds us that there does not always have to be a bunkerhouse mentality to be a 'survivalist'! It gives me some small hope that there might indeed be some ability for this species to change....

-- Damian Solorzano (, November 02, 1998.

Thanks Damian ,

Let's me just add, from a silly optimists point-of-view, that I'm FOR all the individuals -- even those in "spooky" places and others -- that ARE dedicated to seeing that we live in a free world. Not a worse one. (Decidedly debatable at this time point in time). Guess the Y2K time boundary is forcing the issue on whats really important, for everyone.

Actually I cheer on all insiders, outsiders, upsidedownsiders, and right or left or inbetweensiders, who want to see a more positive world for their children, and their children's children. At the very least, seven generations worth.

Sometimes, when overt or covert or hidden bureaucratic and corporate or small business organizations, manipulate events for selfish reasons and not a greater good, people "in the know" want others to KNOW. Stuff leaks. Shift happens. I still would encourage them to blow their quiet whistles upon the winds of change. We out here in life's trenches don't want to know, nor need to know the specifics of tacky secrets or ghoulish practices. Gets people off focus. We don't have enough Y2K time left.

What we DO need, is a positive Y2K non-military mobilization plan for this country and world. We need the media's attention focused on the good things that we can all do, while realistically spelling out, not sensationalizing, just what the problems are too. We need the Oprah's and the Martha Stewart's and the John Glenns of the country, gently, often loudly but pointedly, guiding. Doesn't appear that it will come from congress, et. al. Unless somebody "up there" hears us little guys down here. Help us. Help your families. Help this country. Help our fragile inter-dependent connected world. Help us with Truth.

'Nuf said.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 03, 1998.

Diane, Diane, where to begin, where to end?

Re-read my amended "Y2K fairy tale" - it is deliberately intended to provide the "scary" story requested for Halloween by an earlier post. Also, I'd rather up date a relatively good (very easily recognized, credible analogy) rather than invent a new one.

Do you realize the hardest people to "train" in this problem are the emotional "nin-compoops" that don't have the technical ability to understand the problem. These are the ones who have spent over 1 billion dollars in that movie alone - hundreds of million in associated memorialbilia, popcorn, and tissues - and now they think the Y2K can't happen "because the government won't let it".

They've got to be educated - if an analogy about their own preventable death won't trigger a reaction - if the reference to "captians" who abandon their responsibilities doesn't give them reason to fear, then facts about embedded chips will mean nothing. These people (perhaps you too) live by emotions - they don't think, they don't reason. They don't (as a rule) override an emotional "feel-good" with logic. And they look for (live for perhaps) "the rescue from above" by a guardian angel or heroic prince. Doubt that? The biggest sellers (by millions of copies) are the soap opera paperback romance fiction - each with a larger than life hero with wide shoulders and a manly build coming to rescue the women in distress. Not my titles, that's what sells. Millions of dollars a month, each with the same plot.

I'm NOT the one sinking the boat - I'm NOT the one who drove it into the crisis blindly and deliberately ignoring warning like Clinton - Gore. I'm NOT the one abandoning the people and trying to minimize warning and giving false, misleading statements. I'm NOT the one lieing in public - so that future statements (if correct) won't be trusted. They have crudely and heartlessly lied about every political agenda they've proposed for 6 years - now they are playing the emotional game again with who "want" a better world, but none of the responsibility that comes with it.

To continue the "Titantic" reference you used:

I AM trying to get money, time, and effort to support those "guys" fixing the breaks that should have been done two and three years ago. I AM trying to build more lifeboats, hoping they are not needed, and realizing that the 99% of todays's population is good, kind, and honest. That 85% of today's population states they have the belief system and moral character that allowed people to cross the entire US walking to get to Oregon and CA. That crawled up the Chilkoot trail bleeding on frozen feet to try to get supplies across before they could search for rumors of gold. I could go on - I trust these people, respect, hell - I'll go on record as loving them. I AM trying to keep up the morale of those training others, helping to find a solution that will minimize the troubles.

I'm NOT walking around hoping they pass by. They won't. I'm just not sure how bad, and how long they will last.

But I also see those who now (before the Y2K troubles) rape, steal, lie, plunder, cheat, commit adultry, and murder. These few are enough to murder enough, steal from enough others - without any conscious thought or morality - because the liberals and their education/public morality systems and the Hollywood "three" you mention have trained them to be selfish and look out for only for themselves. The Hollywood elite, the liberal educators, and the LA-DC-NY politically corrupt crowd (led by the media heros you admire) have done nothing but promulgate the lies made by those who will kill this country by their own selfishness.

I too took Jean and her friends trick or treating, I enjoyed being out with them, and hope the "neighborhood comaradrie" I witnessed (sp -2) will continue past 2000.

Don't count me down - I won't let you.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 03, 1998.


I actually honor and highly respect you. It is quite clear where your passion for helping and computer knowledge lies. I say, go team, go!!

Contrary to what some on the forum may think, I am not just a pollyanna, even though I do prefer the happy texts. Maybe Im more like a Pocahontas. I know exactly the wall were headed for. And what the pictures look like. When youre psychic, the gory details can keep you awake at night. I dont even remotely think we wont have major problems. However, my past eleven years metaphysical life-training course has taught me that future events are just probable realities, unfixed, especially when a determined group of people have a compelling reason to shift things. (I also have a very logical, linear background as well). I just want to see your version of a 5 become the 10 on your list. Thats all. And no one else is going to rescue us, but us. Thats the lesson too.

There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a planet, are about to crash (and aside from that we also have a terminal illness too)! The question is how hard and how fast and will we have seat belts and air bags, or not? The truth hurts and helps, and by next year those feel- good people will start getting it! And what they will get is very scared. The luminaries on our public stage, rightly or wrongly, do have the ability to get attention. Do some of us try that approach, to somewhat soften the blow or at least mobilize people to prepare, while others do their jobs, or do we all run for the hills now?


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 04, 1998.


-- Tom Cook (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 08, 1998.

Oh my! Invasion of the body snatchers! Somebody named Tom got Robert Cook!!!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

Yes, the number two kid wanted to see how this thing works ... but I'm sure he believes Craig exists.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 09, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ