January 9, 2009:
The U.S. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is on another hiring binge. With 30,200 employees (40 percent of them "special agents"), the FBI is looking for another 850 special agents, and 2,100 other specialists with scarce skills. With a recession going on, this is a good time to be recruiting computer specialists, although Arab linguists are still hard to find. But even the recession is even putting a few Arabic translators out of a job.
All this is in support of the war on terror, and also to replace the growing number of baby boomers who are retiring. The FBI is eager to increase the proportion of agents and support personnel possessing more foreign language and computer skills. This is critical as the FBI stations more personnel overseas. For nearly 70 years, the FBI has had a presence overseas. While the CIA was created half a century ago to specialize in collecting intelligence overseas (and is forbidden by law from doing that in the United States), the FBI always maintained some presence abroad. Even before September 11, 2001, the FBI was sending more agents overseas as part of domestic counter-terror operations. Currently, there are over 200 FBI personnel stationed overseas, in nearly fifty countries. The FBI usually operates out of the local U.S. embassy.
Back home, the FBI is responsible for detecting and defeating large scale computer crime operations. This is becoming a larger and larger responsibility, and the Bureau wants more people qualified to hunt down the cyber criminals, and build a criminal case against them.