Notes on CIA Recruitment
The CIA increased recruitment in the late 1990’s. Other intelligence agencies did the same. The NSA is looking for mathematicians. All agencies are looking for analysist, computer programmers, engineers, linguists, and scientists, as well as traditional spies.
in 1999 Congress approved about $29 billion for all 13 intelligence agencies. The exact figures are classified, but it is close to Cold War records. Most goes to the National Security Agency, which does electronic eavesdropping, and to the National Reconnaissance Office, which handles spy satellites.
The CIA used to be protested in the 1980’s, due to its involvement in Central America. It was more difficult to recruit back then. One slogan used was “Stop the killing, stop today, we don’t want the CIA.” CIA in many universities was villified, if not banned, in many universities for their role in coups and dirty tricks.
The CIA has 16,000 employees, with 1,000 operatives overseas.
Entertainment media has helped recruitment.
After 9/11 there was a bigger push for recruitment, and many eager applicants.
A help wanted ad wanted “the extraordinary individual who wants more than a job”, work that “demands an adventurous spirit, forceful personality, superior intellectual ability, toughness of mind, and the highest degree of integrity.” This was for the CIA Clandestine Service bureau.
They wanted people with an international background, especially those who study or speak the languages of the Middle East or Central Asia. The CIA had a shortage of Arabic translators, seeing the problem as a shortage of top notch well funded Arabic departments at U.S. colleges.
They flirted with the idea of creating a ROTC style language academy at several colleges, but was met with suspicion. At the University of Michigan they declined an invitation from the CIA. Carol Bardenstein, assistant professor of Arabic language and culture, said, “we didn’t want our students to be known as spies in training. By intertwining intelligence and academics, we’d essentially be recruiting Arabs to later inform on members of their own communities.” That is exactly what the Directorate of Operations was pushing for, the devision that gathers “human intelligence”, also known as spying. They wanted operations officers who will be recruiting individuals to spy on their own countries.
The agency also wants to hire biologists, computer scientists and financial experts deft at tracking a money trail.
The CIA got a boom in applicants after 9/11, due to an increase in patriotism and a decline in private sector jobs.
CIA is still a criminal agency, and it should still be opposed at universities. Check out http://www.cia-on-campus.org/ for more information on this.
Drogin, Bob. “Spy agencies are on a mission to hire from college ranks.” Los Angeles Times. November 14, 1999. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/nov/14/news/mn-33457
Krane, Jim. “On the Lookout For New Spies.” Associated Press. october 28, 2001.
Morse, Jodie. “No Spooks, Please. Were Academics.” Time. October 15, 2001. p. 26.