Article Entry

31 Mar 2009

Comments:35

C.I.A. Launches Radio Ad Campaign To Recruit Spies??

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief

For the first time ever, the C.I.A. has launched a national radio advertising campaign aimed at recruiting more spies for clandestine service. In particular, the agency is looking for more minorities and those with advanced foreign language skills. According to Time Magazine, the C.I.A. is not hurting for applications. It received more that 100,000 resumes last year and the number is growing fast. Did you see our recent post about federal jobs (in particular C.I.A. jobs) being the hot ticket for young people?

While this recruitment effort spells opportunity for many, it actually masks some deeper personnel issues at the agency. Last month, Panetta noted that less than 13% of his staff have foreign-language skills, and 22% are from minority communities. Really?? We find this hard to believe. It would seem that clandestine agents would come from various international backgrounds, and have the language skills, to integrate within what ever trouble spot they are stationed. Right?

So, what do you all think of this? Does this advertising campaign expose some staffing weaknesses in the C.I.A. that are better left hidden? Or, is Panetta doing the right thing by bringing this issue out on the open and dealing with it by implementing a national advertising campaign? Please share all thoughts and comments!

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35 Comments »

  1. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I dont think Panetta has exposed anything about weaknesses or strengths. He is looking for new talent which they and other covert agencies are always in the mood to lok at. Trust me on that :-)

  2. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Why would the CIA be any different than any other large organization who’s has a new challenge in recruiting people they haven’t recruited before? In the world today, tried and true isn’t the best, so let them branch out.”

  3. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Happens in England all the time. In fact MI5 is currently advertising for non-executive directors to provide non-operational guidance and advice to the full-time management……”

  4. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Advertise for what you want and need. What’s the issue? If they are getting 100,000 resumes a year, they need to focus on what they are missing. When I worked for an engineering based company, we advertised for engineers. No mystery there.”

  5. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Maybe they should focus on Dearborn, MI. We have a very high number of middle eastern people that their countries to try to find a safe place to live. Besides half the state is looking for work now anyways.”

  6. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Sounds very smart if your looking for double agents who might already be on American soil… but to find competent operatives from the local SOFT ROCK STATION SOUNDS INSANE! WITH THAT BEING SAID it will most likely get tons of funding. Next we’ll be recruiting space Aliens and nuns.”

  7. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “In fact a lot of countries advertise their intelligence jobs in newspapers. Nothing new here. Just another way of reaching your potentials. So, yes, I believe Panetta is doing the right thing by bringing this issue out in the open.”

  8. USGIF wrote: 31 March 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I think it’s great. I believe that they will reach a greater cross section of the public, both american and non american candidates.”

  9. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Facebook:

    “How does an organization go from recruiting clandestine ops people in top-tier universities to advertising on Facebook? Are things really that bad?

    I suppose reaching towards the center of the barrel works. The private sector does pay more. But are you guys not concerned that less quality applicants wont end up like the former KGB abroad if, and heaven forbid, the U.S. loses hegemony or a minimal level of economic stability? I trust the American way as much as the next person but I’m not an idealist. People behave irrationally. Take away sustenance and they tend to make it a habit.

    Maybe the solution to your problem is a better set of incentive packages to traditionally qualified applicants. It might be worth it in the long run instead of reaching out to Joe Sixpack and his two terms of Farsi.”

  10. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Facebook:

    “everything is a test and nothing is what it seems”

  11. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “First, The Agency isn’t recruiting “spies” or “clandestine agents” on the radio. They are recruiting Case Officers, who in turn recruit spies and agents from other countries. This is a common misconception. Hey, if the Government needs to increase the number of Case Officers to improve our intel gathering, they should use every tool available. By the way, other governments are likely overthinking the Agency’s recruitment initiative, which in itself could be a tactic to confuse or deceive. Who knows?”

  12. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “The C.I.A. must look to hire special quality of people. People with talents, skills, character and loyality.”

  13. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Poor move on the part of the Agency and I cannot believe they are actually taking it serious. I would be curious as to what they expect to achieve with their new recruiting campaign. It may be completely different than the average person would expect.”

  14. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I’ll sign up for the job… since I got layed off. I always thought about working for the CIA. How do I get the job?”

  15. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “We see from the referred article that the CIA is not wanting for applicants. I remember the first time I saw a newspaper ad for the CIA and being surprised. So, I imagine many otherwise stellar applicants might think that positions are filled “privately”. This makes a lot of sense to me.. Farsi, Arabic, Pashto, Dari,….many other languages are the language of today’s vital intelligence. I will say I am curious to know how the vetting process works on applicants. Were I on the opposing side(s) given the radicalization of native (small N) Americans I also see a vulnerability. But.. those with these skills HAVE to be recruited. An interesting problem.”

  16. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    Froml Linked-In:

    “As has been written about in numerous journals the CIA needs to re-invent itself out of the cold war. They have lacked intelligence on many key issues because they were not prepared with intelligence operations outside of the Soviet Bloc.”

  17. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “ASIO advertises on TV from time to time here in Australia. ASIS does not.”

  18. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    Frolm Linked-In:

    “Panetta is doing the right thing. The staffing weaknesses are no secret.”

  19. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Excellent campaign, increase the pool…..”

  20. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Does the Ad have a catchy jingle?”

  21. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Unfortunately in the spy business many of those things you mentioned were not important or were compromised at some point. Historically many spies were double agents or turned on their handlers for personal or financial reasons. Look at some of the spies in US prisons that had very high positions or access to classified information they sold like FBI agent Robert Hanssen.”

  22. Andrea Baker wrote: 1 April 2009

    I don’t think its anything new. All companies need staffing. I have seen the CIA posters recruiting for the NCS at BWI and Reagan airports. Its just reaching different demographics in different areas.

  23. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I’m ok with the campaign as long as safeguards kick in at some point…so the anonymity of potential candidates/applicants is protected. It’s a new info environment out there and large organizations have to be able to compete, no matter what the field. They’ve been recruiting at extremely liberal colleges for years and that’s no secret.”

  24. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Excellent, provided they can control it. I see an unwanted exposure risk, though”

  25. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I think it’s a non-issue. What does the information really give anyone that is actionable (outside of an opportunity for qualified recruits to take the first step towards employment).”

  26. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I guess that in terms of creativity, the sky is the limit…”

  27. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I think it’s a good idea that doesn’t expose anything – you need people that can blend into whatever environment they’re placed. Whatever direction you feel though, please don’t give credit for this idea to Panetta – the CIA has had national recruiting campaigns in place well before he got appointed. I remember seeing commercials on the Discovery Channel years ago as an example.”

  28. USGIF wrote: 1 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “One one to find out who is really qualfied and listening to these ads at the same time. Who is the targeted audience?”

  29. USGIF wrote: 3 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Considering my radio listening is limited to about 10 minutes in the morning (when/if I set my alarm) and/or if I have the radio when driving, I’ve yet to hear these spots. Are they advertising on NPR?”

  30. USGIF wrote: 3 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “Walk-ins are suspect enough. To advertise openly is just a disaster waiting to happen. Just bad ju-ju in so many ways.”

  31. USGIF wrote: 3 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I hear these spots all the time on commercial radio while working. They are well done, and if I tell you what I do for a living, I will have to kill you.”

  32. Anonymous wrote: 6 April 2009

    “This is an interesting question. Naturally advertising is a fantastic way to drive awareness, however, radio would not have been my first choice to recruit for this type of position. There are many marketing tactics that would work very well and be less obtuse.”

  33. Anonymous wrote: 6 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    “I like it! Am dusting of my resume and sharpening my interview skills.”

  34. USGIF wrote: 13 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    I think that this is a great idea, exposure is good. That being said, I would be concerned that there would be an influx of applicants that think they are applying for Jack Bauer’s job; thus slowing down the hiring process for serious applicants.

    As a U.S Veteran studying overseas, my exposure to recruitment drives, etc. is quite limited. Does anyone know of any U.S Govt. programs (recruitment) that are available for people in my situation? Any guidance would be helpful!

  35. USGIF wrote: 13 April 2009

    From Linked-In:

    Little exposure of any information, potential to garner the specific personnel through vetting…it is a workable arrangment that goes back several decades…worked then and will do the same now.

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