WASHINGTON (AP) — The highly secretive National Security Agency is looking to hire 7,500 workers over the next five years in the spy agency’s largest recruiting campaign since the 1980s.
A release posted on the agency’s Web site said NSA plans to hire 1,500 workers by September, and another 1,500 in each of the next four years. Those with specialties in foreign languages, especially Arabic and Chinese, were encouraged to apply.
NSA said it was boosting its staff “to meet the increasing needs of the ever-changing intelligence community.”
The agency, an element of the Defense Department based at Fort Meade in Maryland, conducts electronic wiretapping and signals gathering for foreign intelligence purposes.
NSA and other intelligence agencies came under scrutiny after the September 11 terror attacks for apparent failures and missteps that critics say might have prevented officials from unraveling the hijacking plot.
A joint congressional inquiry report released last summer faulted the intelligence agencies for being unprepared to handle the challenge it faced in translating the volumes of foreign language counterterror intelligence it collected.
Law enforcement officials have said that among the millions of intercepts the NSA gathered on September 10, 2001, were two Arabic-language messages that warned of a major event the next day. The Arabic messages were not translated until September 12.