FBI director walks back comments on hiring weed-smoking hackers


If you're a hacker interested in obtaining a cybersecurity job at the FBI, don't "smoke weed on the way to the interview." Director James Comey says he was only joking when he said he was cool with potsmoking techies just a few days ago. His comments suggested the FBI would loosen hiring policies regarding marijuana users because so many marijuana users also happen to be excellent security experts. Today, that tune changed.

May 20, WSJ:

Congress has authorized the FBI to add 2,000 personnel to its rolls this year, and many of those new recruits will be assigned to tackle cyber crimes, a growing priority for the agency. And that’s a problem, Mr. Comey told the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan. A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana.

“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,” Mr. Comey said.

Mr. Comey said that the agency was “grappling with the question right now” of how to amend the agency’s marijuana policies, which excludes from consideration anyone who has smoked marijuana in the previous three years, according to the FBI’s Web site. One conference goer asked Mr. Comey about a friend who had shied away from applying because of the policy. “He should go ahead and apply,” despite the marijuana use, Mr. Comey said.

Not so much now. May 21, Washington Times:

“I am absolutely dead-set against using marijuana,” said Mr. Comey in an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I did not say that I am going to change that ban.”

[via Ars Technica via @scott_dickson]