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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 13:13 GMT
Wanted: Chinese spies for CIA
New Year celebrations in New York City's Chinatown
New York's Chinatown is one area targeted
The US Central Intelligence Agency has launched a campaign to attract Chinese-American recruits with an advert welcoming the Year of the Goat.

We are intent on our mission to safeguard America and its people - you, too, can play a key role in this important responsibility

CIA advert
Large notices declaring "Happy New Year" in Chinese characters have been placed in newspapers and magazines in American cities with big Chinese communities.

The advert goes on to ask readers to help the CIA "stay true to our global focus" by joining the spy network.

"Why work for a company when you can serve the nation?" it asks.

"Just as the Year of the [Goat] is centred on a strong and clear motivation for peace, harmony and tranquillity during challenging times, we are equally intent on our mission to safeguard America and its people.

"You, too, can play a key role in this important responsibility."

Lie-detector test

Interested readers are directed to the CIA's website for more information on job openings.

They are warned that applicants must take a lie-detector test and be a US citizen to work for the agency.

The extraordinary individual who wants more than a job

CIA description of operations officer
Mark Mansfield, a spokesman for the CIA, told the Washington Times newspaper that recruiters wanted to hire analysts as well as case officers.

He said the ads - pegged to the start of the Chinese New Year last Saturday - were "an opportunity to reach some Chinese-Americans who otherwise might not consider a career in the CIA".

"We're certainly looking for more people with area expertise, cultural knowledge and language skills," he added.

Language needs

An ad on the CIA's website for an operations officer in the "clandestine service" aims at "the extraordinary individual who wants more than a job".

It says the agency is particularly interested in applicants with knowledge of Asian and Middle Eastern languages to take part in the "vital human element of intelligence collection".

"These people are the cutting edge of American intelligence, an elite corps gathering the vital information needed by our policy-makers to make critical foreign policy decisions," the ad says of CIA spies.

China analysts - "you will contribute to a process reaching right to the top of national policy decisions" - may be paid up to $90,000 to start, the website says.

The US intelligence agencies have a chequered past when dealing with China and its people.

  • Four people died when the CIA mistakenly directed Nato to bomb the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in May 1999 during the Kosovo campaign
  • The CIA website has been defaced by Chinese computer hackers
  • The CIA's domestic counterpart - the FBI - was accused of racism after it prosecuted Taiwanese-born scientist Wen Ho Lee for allegedly stealing nuclear secrets for the Chinese Government; all but one of the charges against him were later dropped
  • An employee of the satellite agency, Brian Regan, is on trial for selling missile secrets to China as well as Iraq and Libya

The CIA - along with the FBI and other agencies - has been criticised for not having enough agents who can fit in with Arab or Asian societies.

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