OT: Post Y2K Job Security? -- CIA Looking For A Few Good Spiesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Yep... I would really TRUST these people. (i.e. You are what you hire!)
Posted at 9:22 a.m. PDT Friday, September 24, 1999
CIA looking for a few good spies
[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]
LANGLEY, Va. (Reuters) - Wanted: gregarious, quick thinker for overseas posting. Willing to work after hours, lie about job except to employer, and extract information from foreign contacts. Trench coat optional.
The CIA is looking for a few good spies.
No cloak-and-dagger involved in this search. The U.S. intelligence agency has hit media outlets and the Internet with its call to service -- a full-page ad in ``The Economist'' magazine describes the job as ``the ultimate international career.''
The spy agency is focused on building up its clandestine service, which sends operatives out into the world to collect information and report back.
And it is aggressively seeking to more than double its team of analysts based at Langley headquarters, who sift through classified and unclassified material to discern what is afoot in a geographic region or area like biological warfare. A new training program for analysts will pilot in fiscal year 2000.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican and former CIA officer, said during the Cold War the agency's focus was on the Soviet Union, but now the CIA must stretch into many regions. ``You need eyes and ears everywhere,'' he said.
The CIA downsized in the early 1990s by about 20 percent, mainly by not replacing people who left, then found itself short-handed and started reviving recruiting efforts in 1995.
About 39,000 resumes were received by the agency in fiscal 1999, which ends Sept. 30, a 56 percent increase over the previous year, and 74 percent of job offers were accepted, the CIA said.
``We've got a niche out there in the hiring market that no one else occupies,'' said Gil Medeiros, CIA director of recruitment. ``If you want to get into the intelligence business, we've got the only game in town.''
THE IDEAL SPY
Qualities sought for operatives include a keen interest in international affairs, foreign language aptitude -- especially for ``hot spots'' such as Russia, China, the Middle East and the Koreas -- an outgoing personality for extracting information, and quick thinking to handle the unexpected, Medeiros said.
For the clandestine service the CIA seeks people with work experience, ideally between 28 and 30 years old, as 35 is the age limit.
Strong communications skills are key, Medeiros said. ``That means they can meet foreign dignitaries, elicit information, and get that back to us accurately,'' he said.
Salary is not likely to be the main draw, with starting spy pay ranging from $35,000 to $50,000 depending on background. In fact some recruits take a pay cut when they join.
``We have a number of people who are international lawyers who come to work for us, and they can knock down some really big money (in the private sector), but they enjoy doing this kind of work,'' Medeiros said.
A JOB REQUIRING DECEPTION
Given that the job requires deception, loyalty becomes a key factor in selecting candidates.
``Integrity is probably the most important attribute of them all,'' Medeiros said. Those hired must pass lie-detector and psychological tests and an extensive background check.
``These people live sort of a dual role. They're walking around talking about working for some other government agency or for somebody else. Obviously they're not telling the truth about where they work. But at the same time they have to be completely honest with the CIA,'' he said.
CIA operatives generally go undercover as an employee of some other U.S. government entity. By day they work in an office, but ``it's after hours that the action really starts,'' Medeiros said.
Serious candidates are told what their day would be like.
``We talk about how you live your cover, the kinds of things you have to tell your friends, your neighbor, your family,'' Medeiros said. Spouses always know, but many operatives do not tell their children until they are ``mature enough to understand and to be able to keep the secret,'' he said.
``I lived undercover for 14 years and I don't think I told my mother for 10 of those years,'' Medeiros said.
However, with the prevalence of the Internet, so much information is posted for all to see, that ``cover these days is pretty thin, it's not like the old days,'' he said.
Technology is a big focus for the agency and is a large part of the information being collected overseas. ``More and more these days we're looking for case officers who have some technical background ... who can talk to other engineers and understand what they're telling us,'' Medeiros said.
JAMES BOND? NOT QUITE
For those seeking the life of James Bond, the fictional British agent 007, the reality is not quite as elaborate.
``It's exciting and important work, but in a different way,'' Medeiros said. ``You never see James the next day writing an intelligence report -- there is a fair amount of activity that is relatively mundane,'' he acknowledged.
Bond sometimes wins on the gadget front. ``In some cases we have stuff that's better, in other cases it can't touch the stuff he uses,'' Medeiros says with a laugh.
But the danger can be real as evidenced by the CIA's wall of memorial stars for employees, some never identified, who died in the line of duty.
``The rules of warfare are a little different than in the battlefield,'' Goss said. One of his associates during intelligence days was killed by a bomb, he said.
The organization that had been heavily white male dominated a generation ago is trying to become more diverse. Job ads use models of CIA employees who are women, Asian-American and African-American. Recruiting efforts target cities like Chicago and Detroit, which have a large Middle Eastern population.
The regions where the CIA needs to operate since the Cold War ended argues for a more diverse work force, Goss said. ``You need all kinds of people who can blend in everywhere,'' he explained.
About 30 percent of those joining the clandestine service now are women, up from 20 percent in recent years.
``People used to say that women couldn't do this work because in foreign countries where women have status that is lower than men, you can't have women dealing with senior officials because they simply won't stand for it. That's turned out to be false,'' Medeiros said.
Several lawsuits have been filed by women employees in the past few years accusing the CIA of discrimination.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), September 25, 1999
Or... do it yourself...
Published Saturday, September 25, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News
Private `spy in the sky' for hire
BY VERNON LOEB
A Colorado firm launched a Silicon Valley-made satellite Friday to provide pictures for sale to the public that will come closer than ever before to the quality of U.S. intelligence photographs, giving a capability once reserved for superpowers to dictators and human rights groups, terrorists and television stations. ...
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 25, 1999.