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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 10/ 5/2010

Backchannel chatter: What’s Spanish for spy?

By Jeff Stein

The CIA wants you, hombre.

The spy agency announced Tuesday that it had signed a "landmark” agreement with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to help it recruit Spanish-speaking students.

“Hispanic Americans are writing one of the greatest chapters in the story of our immigrant nation,” CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said in a statement. “America depends on the sheer energy and talent that you bring to the table.”


In an address to the association’s annual conference in San Diego two weeks ago, Panetta appealed to Hispanic students and educators to support the CIA.

The “memorandum of understanding” announced Tuesday calls for the spy agency and HACU “to work together to educate Hispanic students about public service careers with the agency, and to enlarge the hiring pipeline for them.”

Earlier this year, the CIA opened a new office “responsible for promoting diversity and equal opportunity at the agency,” Panetta said.

“We need officers who can operate credibly and effectively in just about any society,” Panetta said in the statement.

“That means things like language fluency and a deep understanding of the local culture. And just as importantly, we need officers who approach intelligence questions from different perspectives based on their different backgrounds: regional, ethnic, educational, and so forth. With a mission that comes down to solving problems and overcoming obstacles, we simply can’t afford to have a workforce of people who all think alike. That’s why I’m committed to making CIA more diverse,” Panetta said.

The Spanish word for spy, by the way, is espia.

By Jeff Stein  | October 5, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Financial/business, Intelligence  | Tags:  Leon E. Panetta  
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Comments

What???

To my knowledge, because I know a fair number of them, the CIA has had numerous Hispanic officers in all ranks for the past, let's see, at least four decades. Not just people who happened to be named Fernandez or Castillo, but people with real linguistic and cultural depth.

What's the situation today?

Posted by: TexLex | October 5, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

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