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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

FBI Is Looking for a Few Good Recruits

Aired April 27, 2002 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, wanted, several hundred men and women, preferably fluent in a second language as well as computer- speak.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: That's a want ad from the FBI. CNN's Jonathan Aiken has the full text for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty years ago, training films glamorized the life of an FBI agent. But as those agents would tell you, the bureau has always been about detective work, not car chases.

September 11, though, shifted the bureau's emphasis to one of preventing crimes, not just trying to solve them after the fact. The attacks also stretched the ranks too thin for comfort.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: We lack a sufficient number of agents and analysts with the full range of language skills as we require today.

AIKEN: With a goal of 900 new agents by this September, the FBI is aggressively hitting colleges and job fairs.

ANDRE HAMMEL, FLORIDA A&M STUDENT: The more and more talk about the FBI, the more I'm thinking about it more, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for me, maybe.

NIAMBI ROBINSON, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: We are focusing as well on intelligence or counterterrorism, explosives...

AIKEN: And applicants with engineering, language, and computer skills are also highly prized.

Whether it's patriotism, the hard sell, or both, the effort is paying off. In the past month alone, the FBI received more than 15,000 applications on its new online job site.

Hearing the call is one thing. Cutting the mustard is another. Times have changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FBI TRAINING FILM)

NARRATOR: Preparation, the fact that it separates the men from the boys, the heavies from the lightweights...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AIKEN: And this is not your father's FBI.

(on camera): What you're going to see here is a 21st century application of an old FBI standard, a shooting range with virtual application that makes it easier for people not familiar with firing a weapon to do so.

(voice-over): Instructors say this targeting system, using video to measure hand-eye coordination, is more effective in training younger agents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had experience growing up playing with pinball's, computers, video games, this is how I'm going to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Visual physical feedback.

AIKEN: Interactive CD-rom exercises are familiar ground to younger agents; sometimes too familiar.

DONALD CAVENDER, FBI COMPUTER TRAINING UNIT: They figure out who the bad guy is pretty quick, but then they have to collect the evidence to make the case, to arrest him. And that's usually the biggest challenge.

AIKEN: Among the new agents at the FBI Academy is a former police officer, Joe. And Bridget, a former teacher and child abuse investigator. Their identities are a bit vague for security reasons. Both say their past careers have prepared them for their next one.

BRIDGET, FBI TRAINEE: I'm an investigator. I have an analytical mind, and I'm always thinking. And that's more what an F.B.I. agent is.

JOE, FBI TRAINEE: It can be tough, being patient, doing very in- depth investigations. They allow you that time, though, it's not -- it's something I never experienced as a police officer.

AIKEN: The FBI isn't alone in seeking the best and the brightest: A host of federal agencies have put out help wanted signs since September 11. The CIA has received 75,000 resumes since then.

BILL HARLOW, CIA PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: We are not having problems filling out positions.

AIKEN: After six weeks at the FBI Academy, these agents in training will be forced to hit the ground running.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then I'll give you the test, and turn you loose.

AIKEN: Ongoing terrorism threats mean there is less time for older agents to explain the nuts and bolts. The class of '02 will get the basics, and then learn the rest of what they need to know on the job.

Jonathan Aiken, CNN. Quantico, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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