CIA launches new radio recruitment campaign


Time reports the CIA is running ads on radio stations across the country for jobs in its clandestine service: “Are you a person of curiosity and integrity?” asks one spot. “Are you ready for a world of challenge … a world of ambiguity and adventure?”

The agency won’t say how much it’s spending on the ad campaign, but CIA spokesman George Little told Time via e-mail, “We continue to seek highly qualified candidates to support the mission of America’s premier intelligence agency.”

The campaign is the first by the agency under its new director, Leon Panetta, who has said he would like to recruit more people with foreign-language skills as well as more minorities.

The agency is not lacking for applicants; it gets more than 100,000 resumes a year, and the number is growing fast. Little says if current trends hold, there may be a 40% to 50% increase in applications this year over 2008.

But the sheer volume of applications masks some of the agency’s recruiting problems. In a roundtable discussion with journalists last month, Panetta noted that less than 13% of his staff have foreign-language skills, and 22% are from minority communities. “I’d like to get to a point where every analyst and operations officer is trained in a foreign language,” he told Time. Panetta also said he’d like to increase the number of minorities at the agency to 30%, “so that we resemble America.” And he acknowledged the need for “better outreach for Muslims, Arabs, African Americans and Latinos.”

The CIA holds about 2,000 recruiting events a year, many of them at colleges and universities. It also advertises, selectively, on television, in print and even on airport billboards. The outreach extends to new media as well. For the past two years, the agency has used a Facebook page as a recruitment medium. Its TV ads can also be seen on YouTube, the article said.