'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'


Sin Amigos / photo on flickr

Turns out that it's not so easy to hire a crack team of programmers and hackers if you're ruling out everyone who has smoked pot in the last three years.

The Wall Street Journal reports on a tricky personnel policy problem for the FBI, which has received congressional authorization to hire 2,000 new employees to combat cyber crime. At a conference this week in Manhattan, FBI Director James Comey didn't mince words: 

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 the FBI was "grappling with the question right now" of what to do about the pot problem, which will only get bigger as recreational use is legalized in additional states and the number of medical marijuana users who would otherwise be fit for service grows. The solution seems pretty clear, but maybe I'm just used to working with stoners. (Reason is hiring, by the by.)

Related: The Department of Defense may have to choose between pot smokers or those who are too fat to fight.

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  1. Hey, maybe they should recruit truckers! Those guys have to be all drug free and stuff.

    Ohhhhh….but they probably don’t haz good computer-hacking skillz, like Napoleon Dynamite 🙁

    Oh well….I think the way forward is clear…

  2. PS You know who else had trouble finding the right people for the job…

  3. Maybe the kid smoking pot on his way to an FBI interview is not the best and the brightest — just saying.

    1. Maybe their definition of smoking pot on the way to the interview is can’t pass a piss test.

    2. hubris more likely

    3. Of course they aren’t the best and brightest – they are on the way to an FBI interview.

      1. Fox Mulder: “Screw you, Drake!”

  4. seriously, why can’t those wacky kids just do what all normal FBI applicants do – wait till after the interview, then get drunk. If they play their cards right, there could be a Secret Service job in their futures.

  5. Back about 25 years ago, I worked with a guy who was the most brilliant coder I’ve ever worked with. Absolute genius. Most of the time, he was pretty stoned. Fortunately, the company didn’t care as long as he produced – which he did. Never seen a better coder since.

    1. State jobs are the only ones I’ve ever known to piss-test for coding. Talent that produces reliably is too hard to find for that shit.

      1. Companies that do business with the government tend to piss-test.

        1. And can’t build working software. Correlation != Causation, but still.

        2. Well something has to replace the intelligence test.

        3. The last company that I worked for that had government contracts didn’t piss-test – they tested your hair.

      2. Years ago on an IT job interview, when I had already in my mind decided I didn’t want to work for the guy, I was just politely waiting for a natural end to the interview but the guy kept going on and on and sounding more arrogant by the second. Finally he gets near the end of the interview and he asks “Would you be willing to take a drug test?”

        “Not at all. How many drugs to I have to test?”

  6. You know who else had to compromise his hiring practices to fend off a threat from the east?

  7. Here is the problem with this; if they allow people in who admit to have using drugs, they will be hiring honest people. I am not sure the FBI wants to go there. They seem to be pretty happy hiring people who are willing to lie about their past. I always figured the “have you ever used drug questions” were there to weed out all of the applicants who were too honest for the job.

    1. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.

      I always thought that the drug questions were to weed out people who have a moral sense.

      1. Quote is Bastiat.

      2. That too. But since nearly everyone has some kind of contact with illegal drugs at some point during their youth, it also serves as an entry barrier to people too honest to lie about their past.

        1. But since nearly everyone has some kind of contact with illegal drugs at some point during their youth

          Just based upon my own personal experience, I’d say less than fifty percent have used illegal drugs.

          1. I would say it is more than 50% of the kind of people who want to be cops.

          2. I think 50% is liberally optimistic.

            People consider me pretty clean because I’ve never smoked pot, but I could’ve earned a DUI before I had my license and I’ve used a few other substances that were legal when I consumed them.

        2. Well, I don’t consider pot to be a drug so “no” would be an honest answer to that question.

          I’ve come into contact with EVERY other drug, none of which are 100% illegal. I worked in a pharmacy and came into contact with our controlled substances. I never consumed them, but I did come in contact with them.

    2. My grandma used to say at the CIA they just assumed everyone who said they hadn’t was lying, so you’re probably right. all though there are definitely some boy scouts out there.

      1. You have to lie a little. You can’t say, yeah, I smoked all day every day for 10 years until a quit 3 months ago so I could apply for this job. But if you say, ok, I smoked some pot in college, but it’s been a long time. They like that last one much better than the first one.

  8. (Reason is hiring, by the by.)

    As long as they code up an ‘edit’ button beforehand, the programmers could smoke and coke themselves into a coma for all I care.

    1. Or a post system that didn’t rely on the user’s computer and their servers having the same time

  9. Is one of the concerns that a person can be compromised and blackmailed if they smoke pot ? Sort of like how being gay was considered a security risk ?

    1. No, I think they just want you to be a Dudley Do Right and a staunch follower of the law (even though that’s impossible).

  10. Has the FBI done anything to address the pervasive problem of closeted homosexuals in their ranks, which they’ve had ever since J. Edgar Drag Queen Hoover set that joint up? Living in the closet has all kinds of psychological effects, which manifest themselves in hare-brained ideas like funding the truck bomb for the first WTC attack.


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