Wednesday 22 April 2009, by Times Online
The Central Intelligence Agency is attempting to recruit more spies by advertising on the internet, radio, and television, and holding meetings with American Muslims to make up for a severe shortage of Arabic speakers. Leon Panetta, the new CIA director, will meet with Muslim groups in cities such as Detroit to spearhead the new drive to recruit more Arabic speakers and Muslims. Urdu and Pashtu speakers are also among those being sought in the continuation of an anti-terror initiative launched by former US president George W. Bush. «We want to emphasize to those communities that we welcome first-generation Americans to apply. They bring critical language skills and a knowledge of culture to support our intelligence mission.» Earlier this month Scott White, third in command at the CIA, held meetings with Arab-American and Chaldean-American representatives in Detroit, which has heavily populated American Muslim suburbs. He told the groups that he would bring Mr. Panetta to a future meeting.
The significance of this article and news bulletin emphasizes that a cooperative effort is needed in US security agencies such as the CIA, and the reality that in order to strengthen its intelligence in Arab and Muslim security, the agency needs strengths from within these communities. Also important though not emphasized in the article, is the reciprocal respect that is needed – without trust by the Muslim and Arab communities in the United States, members may not be willing to lend their linguistic skills for fear of backlash and profiling. This article points out that there may be some serious gaps in fostered trust between security agencies and those that feel as though they may be targeted both as suspicious and as only being used for certain skills.
March 31, 2009