While most news outlets are right in thinking that many hackers don’t want to work for the FBI because they can find more lucrative work with their expertise, they are ignoring the number one reason the agency is having such a hard time recruiting talent for FBI cyber security jobs.
Let’s back-track to May 2014, when FBI Director James Comey announced his hiring stance at a senate hearing:
“I am absolutely dead set against using marijuana,” he said at the hearing, “I don’t want young people to use marijuana. It’s against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana. I did not say that I’m going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce.”
A three-year ban on marijuana means that recruits cannot have smoked marijuana for the past three years in order to qualify for a job at the FBI. It’s the FBI’s drug-testing policies that are keeping experts off the payroll.
The FBI told congress that it needs to hire a couple more thousand people to fight the ever-increasing numbers of computer-related crime but finding hackers who haven’t smoked pot (or eaten cannabis edibles) in the past three years is proving to be impossible.
“[We have] the government hiring practices of the 1940s and 50s in the 21st century,” Gregory Wilshusen, director of information at the General Accountability Office, told InformationWeek.
Regardless of the fact that marijuana is still illegal under Federal law, even when it’s legal within a state, the FBI is now considering encouraging anyone who has recently smoked a joint to apply for a job.