The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been using Facebook to recruit potential employees into their National Clandestine Service, marking the first time that the CIA has ventured into the world of social networking for recruitment purposes.
On the CIA’s Facebook page, you’ll find information a thirty-second promotional YouTube video aimed at college applicants, as well as an overview of what the NCS is looking for in recruits. If you think a job in the CIA is for you, and you’re a US citizen with a 3.0 or higher GPA, you can find information about how to apply to work in the NCS on their Facebook page.
The NCS, for which the CIA is currently recruiting, is one of four directorates of the CIA. It was established after 9/11 to gather intelligence from sources both domestic and abroad. In 2004, the CIA was directed by President Bush to increase the “human intelligence capabilities” of the agency by hiring more officiers that can “blend more easily in foreign cities.”Â Still on the hunt for more spies, the NCS decided to set up a Facebook page to attract qualified college students. The NCS sponsored Facebook group was officially launched on Dec. 19, 2006, and already has over 2,100 members. The group will stay active for about two months, giving it just about another month left.
The CIA is unique in its move to recruit via social networking sites. Other governmental agencies have not yet done so, and this is likely because of the strict recruiting rules that they face. The CIA is special in that they are exempt from such contraints, and do not need to seek any permission to try out new recruiting methods.
So, let’s get this straight. The CIA knows about and uses Facebook. They are trying to recruit our fellow students, and have thousands of members on their group. Hmm. Makes you wonder how many of those “students” they have hired, and what other activities they might be doing utilizing the site.
The CIA claims that they have no direct access to any user’s profile (yea, right), and adhere to all the rules that other advertisers on the site are bound by. You see, the CIA is not a company, so they can’t join Facebook as a company and are forced to join as an “advertiser”.
Nicole Ozer, civil liberties and technology policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, says : “If (the CIA) knows about Facebook, and they have a page on Facebook, it would be surprising if they weren’t using it in other ways.” She also went on to say that there’s no way that anyone could really know what the CIA was up to on Facebook, stating “It seems if they would go to the trouble to infiltrate peace groups that they are also online looking at information.” She makes a good point.
So are they really just using it as a tool to attract potential new government spies? We may never know. We may never really want to know. Or do we?