An exclusive interview with CNN Money surprised the public with the fact that five or six outstanding candidates lose their spot in the job race at the CIA every year over things they’ve said or posted on various social networks.
When you hear that 20,000 people apply each year, it doesn’t seem to happen that often, but the top recruiter in the interview made it very clear that Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts might get you in trouble with your application.
Ron Patrick explained that top secret and social media don’t mingle very well; he himself owns a rather vague LinkedIn account and both his Twitter and Facebook accounts are registered under a different name.
In his interview, the lead recruiter gave some advice to people who hope to one day to be part of the CIA team. He started by saying that expressing public interest by liking their Facebook page or following them is frowned upon – you never know, someday you might end up undercover, and you don’t want to keep broadcasting to the world about your spying interest.
On the other hand, applicants are not discouraged from owning social media accounts, and they are definitely not allowed to pose as antisocial or technophobic by quitting the online world altogether once they’ve been contacted by the agency.
The next piece of advice might sound redundant, but Patrick said a lot of stellar candidates failed because they couldn’t follow it. Once you’re targeted by the CIA for an interview, they will tell you to keep it a secret; those who don’t get it and post about it online are automatically out of the race.
Patrick said that “it’s a question of trust and integrity”, and a matter of being able to follow instructions. If you can’t do that, how are they going to know you understand the severity of your possible job?
One of the thumb rules that keeps discretion afloat is the interdiction of tagging fellow officers in your pictures. It is more of an unspoken rule, because you never know whose cover you’re about to blow up.
You’re not allowed to tag them or announce their location. It is also discouraged to add coworker spies as your online “friends”, because you’re just making it easier for foreign intelligence agencies figure out the CIA network layout.
Last but not least, Patrick added that if you do get the job, don’t try to disappear from social media. You’re only raising suspicion and giving out clues that other intel services can easily pick up. Balance and measure are advised in everything you do.
Image Source: Dumb Little Man