Home / Marijuana / The FBI Says It Can’t Find Hackers to Hire Because They All Smoke Pot
The Internet can be a treacherous place.
So treacherous, that in order to meet the mounting cybersecurity challenges posed by hackers, Congress has tasked the FBI with hiring some 2,000 new recruits to fight computer-related crimes.
But the hiring process has hit an unforeseen snag: the FBI’s drug testing policies are making it nearly impossible for them to hire hackers with enough skills to best the cyber-criminals the feds are trying to take down.
“I am absolutely dead set against using marijuana,” FBI director James Comey told those in attendance at a senate hearing on the bureau’s oversight, “I don’t want young people to use marijuana. It’s against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana.”
The strict rules against cannabis put in place by Comey’s FBI have drastically reduced the applicant pool for the 2,000 positions the bureau has to fill.
The most talented hackers are taking more lucrative and more weed-tolerant positions at private cybersecurity firms.
“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.
It’s no secret that the federal government is having a hard time hiring cybersecurity experts.
According to the Wall Street Journal, FBI Director Comey said that in order to effectively combat so-called cyber criminals, the government would essentially have to allow government hackers use marijuana.
With more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, few talented applicants seem willing to set aside their habit just to work for the feds.
“[We have] the government hiring practices of the 1940s and 50s in the 21st century,” Gregory Wilshusen, director of information at the General Accountability Office, told reporters.
The agency’s current regulations forbid hiring someone who has “smoked” marijuana in the last three years.
Although there’s nothing in the bylaws which stipulate other forms of cannabis consumption, like dabs or edibles, wouldn’t be allowed, it seems the spirit of the regulation is a ban on buds across the board.
Because of the problems it is facing trying to find talented cybersecurity experts to work for the government, the FBI may have to begin considering relaxing its restrictions on cannabis and taking a closer look at hiring practices.
Comey, however, has stated he will not relax the current policies: “I did not say that I’m going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce.”
Even so, the agency is requesting that interested applicants should apply whether or not they’ve recently gotten stoned.
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The FBI is fighting to keep citizens from finding out if their information is contained in their massive biometric database called the “Next Generation Identification System,” which collects palm prints, fingerprints, iris scans, facial and tattoo photographs, and biographies for millions of Americans.
The FBI is one of many companies who are collecting biometric data, others include Apple, Google, Motorola, and Lenovo.
The information contained in the Next Generation Identification System does not just collect data from criminals, suspects, and detainees — but also includes data from people who are fingerprinted for jobs, licenses, naturalization, volunteer services, military services, and other methods.
The agency claims that people finding out if their information is stored in the database will “compromise” law enforcement investigations, so on Thursday, the Justice Department released their planned proposal that the database be exempt from certain provisions of the Privacy Act, Nextgov reported.
The Privacy Act requires agencies share the information they have collected on individuals with that person, but the agency claims it could compromise their “sensitive investigative technique.”
“Application of this provision could present a serious impediment to the FBI’s responsibilities to detect, deter, and prosecute crimes and to protect the national security. Application of these provisions would put the subject of an investigation on notice of that fact and allow the subject an opportunity to engage in conduct intended to impede that activity or avoid apprehension,” the document posted by the FBI argues.
Privacy advocates argue that allowing an exemption would set a precedent allowing law enforcement to collect any information that they want without informing the citizen they are targeting.
“If you have no ability to access the record the FBI has on you, even when you’re not part of an investigation or under investigation, and lo and behold inaccurate information forms a ‘pattern of activity’ that then subjects you to [be] the focus of the FBI, then that’s a problem,” Jeramie Scott, a national security counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research group advocating for digital civil liberties told Nextgov.
Privacy and national security are two important issues for many Americans, but the two are often in conflict. As Benjamin Franklin once said, however: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
We will have to wait and see if the federal government agrees.
Top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have now been interviewed by the FBI, including Huma Abedin.
The reports that Abedin and others were interviewed by the agency broke on Thursday afternoon, in the same week that Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, the Romanian hacker known as Guccifer, claimed that he repeatedly accessed Hillary Clinton’s private emails in 2013.
Clinton has repeatedly claimed that the FBI investigation is simply a routine review, but this is contradicted by the Department of Justice referring to the matter as a “law enforcement proceeding,” while fighting a lawsuit from investigative journalist Jason Leopold on Friday, in relation to a FOIA request for her emails.
Over the past few weeks, multiple aides to the Democratic presidential front runner have been interviewed by the agency, some reportedly more than once.
One former employee of Clinton, Bryan Pagliano, who helped her to set up her private server, has been granted immunity in exchange for providing the FBI with documents and other materials pertinent to their investigation.
Clinton –who is on the campaign trail –is followed by a group of reporters everywhere as well as the Secret Service, creating what CNN calls a logistical issue for her to be interviewed by the agency privately. Her interview with the agency will be one of the final steps in the investigation, the FBI is reportedly working with her campaign to find a way to conduct it privately.
The Clinton campaign has been doing their best to downplay the scandal, despite the fact that it contained nearly 2,200 emails deemed classified and 22 that were deemed “Top Secret.”
“There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate. It is unfathomable that he would have gained access to her emails and not leaked them the way he did to his other victims,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
When the discussion arises about Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, it is quickly dismissed by those on the left as being “nonsense,” “a conspiracy from right-wing nut jobs,” or people simply do not care — but they should.
Beyond the obvious issues of national security, it is important to understand why the Secretary of State would choose to use a private server instead of a .gov email address like her predecessors.
The only reason why an official would feel the need to do this is to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests — meaning they could dodge accountability and government transparency. Clinton decided that she was above the law and that she should not have to answer to, or be scrutinized, by anyone. This is a frightening quality for someone who wishes to become the leader of our nation.
This trait is further exemplified by her outright refusal to release the transcripts of her speeches to big banks on Wall Street. Her opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has made the brilliant point that in order for these speeches to be worth over $250,000 a pop they must be absolutely Shakespearean.
Her refusal to be transparent about what was said leaves many rightfully wondering if she wasn’t really paid for the content of her speeches — because let’s face it, they generally aren’t very good — so much as paid for promises that may have come with them. Without her releasing the transcripts to squash that theory, it is an entirely valid concern.
Let’s get back to the emails. There were 31,830 emails deleted by her staff without any government oversight what-so-ever. It was done using keyword searches which they deemed to be most likely to be used in “private, personal” emails. Her staff was allowed to pick and choose what to delete, including emails that may have classified intelligence. Despite their tampering, there were still 22 top-secret emails left unguarded on her server. They were left vulnerable to hackers, including from foreign governments, for the sake of her “convenience,” or so she claims.
This leaves us with two possible explanations for the email scandal, either she wanted to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests, thus dodging accountability and transparency, or she values her “convenience” over the safety and security of this nation. Neither of these scenarios scream “presidential.”
On Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Hillary Clinton asserted that she has not yet personally been asked to be questioned by the FBI, however, last week they began the process of setting up formal interviews with her closest aides.
Whether Clinton is indicted or not, this is an important glimpse into how Clinton handles her power. Despite the desperate cries from the left about how we must fear the big bad wolves on the right, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is absolutely not the only one we should be worrying about.
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