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THE Central Intelligence Agency is taking advantage of the financial meltdown to recruit a new generation of financially literate spies with a series of jobs targeting Wall Street workers.
Economics has always been an area of interest for the American spy agency and former senior agent David Gordon said financial knowledge had come to the fore during the global crisis.
Since February, the agency has been producing a daily economic intelligence briefing for President Barack Obama, in addition to his regular intelligence reports.
"Economics, finance and business professionals - if the quest for the bottom line is just not enough for you, the CIA has a mission like no other," one radio advertisement says. "Join CIA's directorate of intelligence and be a part of our global mission as an economic or financial analyst. Make a difference in your career and for your nation."
Gordon, a former national intelligence officer for economic issues, said: "The global financial crisis involves a series of national security challenges for the US." He added that the CIA needed analysts who understand the world's financial markets and gauge their impact on the US. The CIA was particularly interested in two areas.
The first, he said, is assessing how countries respond to financial pressures and the risks they generate internally, "how to follow arcane financial flows that will be important to the US", Gordon explained. Second, there is huge interest in how "less benign actors" such as drug gangs, terrorists or enemy states, such as North Korea and Iran, are acting financially. - The Sunday Times, London