The FBI’s zero-tolerance drug policy doesn’t quite gel with the more libertarian-leaning tech culture, and as a result the agency’s cyber crimes unit is having a difficult time hiring its best and brightest without also getting its highest.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey may be looking to change that according to statements made earlier this week, in which he indicated possible exceptions or changes to agency policy in order to hire cyber security agents from the talent pool notorious for toking.
“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 at the White Collar Crime Institute’s annual conference in New York City Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Comey added that the FBI is “grappling with the question right now” of how to update its marijuana use policy.
According to the agency’s website, anyone who has smoked marijuana in the three years prior to an interview is excluded, as is anyone who at any time consumed prescription drugs not prescribed to them. The agency conducts both drug and polygraph tests as part of the interview process.
During a question and answer segment, one conference attendee asked Comey about a friend who had reconsidered applying specifically due to the drug policy in question.
“He should go ahead and apply,” Comey said, describing how the agency had “changed both our mindset and the way we do business” to work less “in-box” than it used to.
Comey said the agency currently has 1,300 cyber agents working on 10,700 white collar crimes, and that cases of corporate fraud have grown by 65 percent since 2008. Congress has given the go-ahead for the agency to hire another 2,000 employees in 2014, many of whom the agency plans to assign to the growing cyber crimes division.
“Anybody who thinks FBI agents shy away from going after either people or companies because they are too prominent or too large, doesn’t know the FBI,” Comey said.