Intelligence: April 2, 2004


The Department of Defense is very short of qualified, Arabic speaking, "debriefers." These are people, with at least a secret level (and preferably top secret) security clearance, who have attended the five week Strategic Debriefing Course. The Defense Intelligence Agency has been conducting this course since 1982, and in it intelligence specialists from all the services learn what to look for, and how to report it in a standardized and useful format, when interrogating captured military and civilian personnel. 

The Department of Defense is trying to attract school graduates, who have left government service, to work as civilian employees. The Base pay is 80-100 thousand dollars a year. But with overtime and bonuses, up to $200,000 a year can be earned. Applicants are told to expect work weeks of up to 72 hours. The pay is non-taxable if the debriefer does not return to the United States for vacation (a week or more of leave is allowed every 3-6 months). Preference, and higher pay, is given to those applicants who speak and read Arabic, have recent military experience and have worked overseas. Those who do not speak Arabic will have to work through interpreters and translators (some of whom will not have security clearances.) Only about 3,000 people have taken the Strategic Debriefing Course, and most of them have since retired from the military. Apparently there are a few dozen key applicants that the Department of Defense is hoping to lure out of retirement to help out in Iraq, and other areas where the War on Terror is being fought.


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