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CIA Job Applications Rise In Weeks Following Attacks

By Aaron Du


As the ruins of the World Trade Centers smolder and cleanup proceeds in New York, U.S. intelligence and defense agencies are scrambling to coordinate the war in Afghanistan and anti-terrorist measures at home.

However, according to officials at the Central Intelligence Agency, their recruiting policies have not changed significantly due to the September 11 attacks.

CIA recruitment has been expanding steadily in recent years. “Congress has appropriated additional funds to expand the CIA recruiting effort,” said Tom Crispell, a public relations official with the CIA. “It has been a continuing process that took place sometime before the tragedy.”

However, interest in intelligence-related careers has increased dramatically since September 11. Applications and resumes have flooded intelligence agencies such as the CIA.

“We have received 31,500 resumes from the day of the tragedy to last Friday,” Crispell said. “That comes down to three to five hundred resumes each week.”

Crispell said that immediately following September 11, the CIA was receiving 5000 resumes weekly. “It is a huge increase from the past year in terms of the number of resumes,” Crispell said.

MIT recruiting continues

The CIA has traditionally recruited heavily at MIT. “We're looking for people with computer skills, language skills, people with hard science backgrounds, and engineers of all types,” Crispell said. “We are just finishing our recruiting at MIT and other campuses around the nation. Right now we are moving into the screening process.”

The screening process at CIA usually involves rigorous medical and polygraph examinations as well as a background investigation. Non-U.S. citizens cannot be considered for any positions at CIA or other government agencies.

Agencies seek language experts

The terrorist attacks and subsequent military action in Afghanistan have also increased the need for specialists in Middle Eastern languages, including Arabic, Dari, and Pashto. “We posted on our web site a special request for individuals who have fluency in Middle Eastern languages,” Crispell said. “We are actively seeking and recruiting people who have these language skills and will eventually work here.”

CIA recruiters at MIT traditionally favor upperclassmen, but this year Samina Shaikh ’05 was offered an internship for the summer after her freshman year. She will be working in the CIA Software and Application Development Division.

“It’s fun. Who wouldn’t want to work for CIA?,” Shaikh said. “I’ve wanted to work for CIA since I was a child.”

Shaikh, who can speak four different languages in addition to her science and technology skills, said that she was surprised to receive the offer.