FBI Needs to Hire More Cybercrime Experts, Applicant Pool Is a Bunch of Potheads

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 20 2014 3:34 PM

FBI Needs to Hire More Cybercrime Experts, Applicant Pool Is a Bunch of Potheads

171060737-director-nominee-james-comey-speaks-as-u-s-president_1
Obama and Comey. One smoked pot as a teenager, one isn't at liberty to say.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

FBI Director James B. Comey has a problem on his hands. Congress has approved a plan for the FBI to add 2,000 employees, and many of those new hires will be cybercrime experts. But the agency's long-standing no-marijuana policy is apparently limiting the talent search. It turns out that programmers, white hat hackers, and cybersecurity experts generally tend to enjoy partaking of the reefer.

This week at the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual New York City Bar Association conference, Comey said that cybersecurity is an important priority for the FBI, but that the agency may need to re-evaluate its hiring stance when it comes to marijuana use. Currently anyone who has used pot in the three years before applying to an FBI job is automatically disqualified from consideration.

Advertisement

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey said, according to the Wall Street Journal. A conference attendee brought up a friend who hadn't applied for an FBI job because of pot use. Comey replied, “He should go ahead and apply.”

Marijuana use is problematic for cybersecurity hiring in other government agencies, too, especially now that states like Colorado have legalized it. But so far the Obama administration has upheld the hiring policy.

On the one hand it seems like we should want the absolute best people working on national issues of cybersecurity. On the other hand if they’re gonna be high all the time (because recreational drug users always show up to work high, right?) their sense of urgency may be kind of off. And then you think about the fact that people make terrible cybersecurity decisions no matter what state of mind they’re in, and it all seems kind of hopeless and frustrating. I need a drink.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 18 2014 1:34 PM Americans Fault Obama for Giving Them Exactly the Anti-ISIS Strategy They Want
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 2:18 PM The NFL Is Not a Nonprofit So why does it get to act like one?
  Life
Doonan
Sept. 18 2014 2:00 PM On the Death of My Homophobic Dog I named him Liberace, but I couldn’t have chosen a less appropriate namesake for this coarse, emotionally withholding Norwich terrier.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Everyday That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 2:32 PM Kern Your Enthusiasm: The Friendliness of Chicago
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 1:24 PM Can the Celebrities Whose Photos Were Stolen Really Sue Apple? It may be harder to prove “harm” than it seems.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.