U.S. Intelligence Agencies Loosen Hiring Rules For Immigrants
An AP newswire article by Pamela Hess, via SFGate.com, reports that:
U.S. intelligence agencies have loosened security clearance and hiring rules to open their ranks to first- and second-generation Americans and to outside professionals with cutting-edge technological skills, a top intelligence official said Friday.More here.
First- and second-generation immigrants have been essentially blackballed from getting the highest security clearances because their family ties to people in other countries have been considered security risks, said Ronald P. Sanders, the associate director of national intelligence, in an interview with The Associated Press. The same concerns have all but blocked applicants with dual citizenship.
The problem is that those are exactly the kind of people the intelligence agencies need to spy on the decentralized and shadowy world of terrorism. They speak foreign languages, understand the culture and have associations that can help penetrate extremist networks.
"Security clearance rules served as impediments," Sanders said. "They had their roots in the Cold War, and a lot of their assumptions are no longer valid."
Until October, it was nearly an automatic disqualification to have close relatives who were not U.S. citizens, and dual citizens had to renounce their foreign citizenships.