Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Spy Agencies Fear Some Applicants Are Terrorists

U.S. counterintelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Al Qaeda sympathizers or operatives may have tried to get jobs at the CIA (news - web sites) and other U.S. agencies in an effort to spy on American counterterrorist efforts.

So far, about 40 Americans who sought positions at U.S. intelligence agencies have been red-flagged and turned away for possible ties to terrorist groups, the officials said. Several such applicants have been detected at the CIA.

"We think terrorist organizations have tried to insinuate people into our hiring pools," said Barry Royden, a 39-year CIA veteran who is a counterintelligence instructor at the agency.

Also, three senior counterintelligence officials said they feared terrorist groups may be trying to place an "insider" in America's fast-growing counterterrorist planning and operational networks as part of a long-term strategy to compromise U.S. intelligence efforts.

Note to terrorists: Use an alias. "Jeff Gannon" seems to work pretty well.


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