CIA suffers from strong lack of Arab specialists

The Central Intelligence Agency will most likely have to revise its employment rules

The US Central Intelligence Agency will have to simplify several internal security rules regarding requirements presented to employment candidates. The rules prevent the CIA from employing a lot of qualified specialists in the Arabic language and experts for traditions and ideology of Islam. The agency experiences a strong need in such specialists. Furthermore, intelligence officers believe that first generation US citizens, ethnic Arabs, might face the dual loyalty problem.

The US CIA has never been a militarized organization. Its officers take different positions, but there is no multistage hierarchy of military ranks in the organization. It is noteworthy that scriptwriters of Soviet detective films were in a habit of using “CIA colonels” in their works, although such a rank never existed in reality. Nevertheless, the CIA has always practiced the toughest discipline imaginable. Requirements to new employees are rather high; they all spring from a list of rules of the organization's internal security. The CIA hires only US citizens under 35 years of age. A person will be granted access to secret documents only if he or she successfully passes a serious of various test.

The American intelligence currently suffers from a lack of specialists of the Arab language. The problem became especially serious after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The CIA also needs experts of cultural, social and historical realities of Muslim states, as well as Islamic ideology, rights and traditions. The US intelligence network cannot operate without such specialists in Muslim states. It is also impossible to collect information about terrorists; the shortage of the above-mentioned specialists does not allow to introduce US intelligence officers in extremist organizations either.

CIA Director, Porter Goss, and US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, have to fulfill the will of the US president, who ordered to double the personnel of analysts and secret agents within the period of five years. The CIA faced certain complications employing new personnel. The majority of candidates, who possessed all the knowledge, experience and skills required, were mostly ethnic Arabs, first-generation American citizens. It means that they might face the problem of dual loyalty, first and foremost. Secondly, a lot of ethnic Arabs maintain permanent relations with relatives, who still reside in their native states. They could therefore become victims of blackmail and threats.

Jennifer Millerwize, the chairwoman of the CIA press service, said that the Agency would most likely have to revise the employment rules, because specialists fluent in Arab, Afghan and Chinese languages are highly wanted by the CIA. Dem. Representative from California, Jane Harman, entirely supported the CIA's initiative. She believes that US authorities need to give ethnic Arabs an opportunity to help the USA if they are law-abiding and patriotic citizens.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people in the CIA administration, who are ready to stand up for traditional personnel-selective standards of the agency. It is up to CIA Director Porter Goss and the director of the National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to make the final decision on the matter.

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Author`s name Olga Savka