FBI Director: Don't Let Weed Stop You from Applying to the FBI

FBI Director James Comey FBI Director James Comey Susan Walsh/AP

Law enforcement angencies generally don't hire stoners and slackers. But as the cyber war heats up, groups like the FBI may be forced to turn to people who like to get a little heated to stay ahead of the curve. 

“He should go ahead and apply,” was the advice FBI Director James B. Comey had on Monday for a young man who theoretically balked at applying for an FBI job because he liked to get lit. Comey spoke about the difficulties facing the FBI when it comes to hiring promising young hackers at the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at Manhattan's New York City Bar Association, according to the Wall Street Journal. The trouble is, a lot of hackers smoke weed, and that's something the FBI generally frowns upon. 

One attendee asked Comey about a friend who considered an FBI job but ultimately did not apply because of the marijuana policy. The theoretical FBI applicant knew he would never pass a drug test. But director Comey's comments clearly signal the FBI at least wants to move on from the increasingly outdated anti-marijuana policy that is complicating its efforts to fight cyber crime. 

Bongs are everywhere in the fictionalized hacker hangout on HBO's Silicon Valley. Heck, two weeks ago police accidentally busted Erlich, one of the main characters, for his grow-op hidden in their garage. Weed is baked into the tech culture at this point, and many people working in tech have zeroed in on the marijuana industry as one ripe for disruption, as Wired's Mat Honan explained recently. Plus, the USA is moving relaxing its marijuana attitudes, considering the drug is now legal in two states. 

As it stands, the FBI's hiring policy on its website says an applicant must be marijuana free for three years if they hope to apply for a job with the bureau. Unfortunately for Comey — who has to fill 2000 new jobs this year, many of them dedicated to fighting cyber crime — finding a tech wizard who hasn't smoked in the last hour is hard enough. “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 told the conference attendees. 

The FBI could possibly amend those strict rules soon. Comey told the conference the bureau is “grappling with the question right now” of how to change the drug policy without scaring off the cream of the hacking crop. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.