FBI Relaxes Hiring Rules for Former Drug Users

If you've always wanted to work for the FBI but had a little problem because you couldn't swear you never smoked pot or tried other controlled substances, relief is at hand.

Old guidelines barred FBI employment to anyone who had used marijuana more than 15 times in their lives or who had tried other illegal narcotics more than five times.

But those strict numbers no longer apply. Applicants for jobs such as analysts, programmers or special agents must still swear that they have not used any illegal substances recently -- three years for marijuana and 10 years for other drugs -- but they are no longer ruled out of consideration because of more frequent drug use in the past.

The explanation is that the FBI has to face reality.

But FBI officials say the move is simply an acknowledgment of reality in a country where, according to some estimates, up to a third of the population has tried marijuana at some point.

Turns out the intelligence agencies and law enforcement communities relaxed their standards some time ago.


"One of the things we came to realize was that our drug policy was largely out of step with the rest of the intelligence community and much of the law enforcement community," said Jeffrey J. Berkin, deputy assistant director of the FBI's security division.

The FBI thinks the policy has prevented them from attracting recruits, particularly in the fields of counter-terrorism and intelligence.

Maybe it's just that not a whole lot of people want to be spies and round up people who haven't committed a crime. Maybe not that many believe in the war on terror.

Whatever the reason, it's a positive change.

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    An article in the NYT last week included the (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 12:03:06 PM EST
    info that part of the problem is that on the polygraph, the applicants couldn't honestly say exactly how many times they smoked pot.

    Who could? (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 03:33:31 PM EST
    I'd be lucky to guess within a thousand uses...granted I'm an unusual case:)

    Regardless, the FBI shouldn't stress over it, rastaman no work for the FBI.