FBI Needs Pot-Smoking Programmers to Fight Cybercrime, So Drug Rules Might Get a Little Cooler

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 20 2014 8:31 PM

FBI Needs Pot-Smoking Programmers to Fight Cybercrime, So May Bend Drug Rules

469357835-colombian-police-officer-holds-a-sample-of-marijuana-on
Maybe just don't smoke all of it.

Photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

Catching criminals in the digital age is tough. For the FBI, keeping up with cybercrime, and the hackers from around the world that commit it, has required a new approach to crime fighting. It also requires a new breed of FBI agent—one that actually knows about computers. Frustratingly, those types of millennial programmers also like to smoke pot. And therein lies the problem, according to FBI Director James Comey. Here’s how Comey put it at the White Collar Crime Institute’s annual conference on Monday, via the Wall Street Journal.

…FBI Director James B. Comey said Monday that if the FBI hopes to continue to keep pace with cyber criminals, the organization may have to loosen up its no-tolerance policy for hiring those who like to smoke marijuana.
Congress has authorized the FBI to add 2,000 personnel to its rolls this year, and many of those new recruits will be assigned to tackle cyber crimes, a growing priority for the agency. And that’s a problem, Mr. Comey told the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan. A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana. “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,” Mr. Comey said.
Mr. Comey said that the agency was “grappling with the question right now” of how to amend the agency’s marijuana policies, which excludes from consideration anyone who has smoked marijuana in the previous three years, according to the FBI’s Web site.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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