FBI discriminates against staff with foreign language skills
Story Code : 430217
The New York Times reported on Saturday that FBI linguists, agents, and other staff with foreign skills and contacts are more likely to be called for security interviews, polygraph tests, and reviews of communications while having troubles getting career promotions.
The agency launched the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan (PARM) after the September 11 attacks of 2001 in an attempt to monitor newly hired linguists allegedly to reduce the risk of being infiltrated by outsiders.
The scrutiny program has expanded more than double in size since its beginning, affecting nearly 1,000 FBI employees with access to classified information.
The FBI work force includes about 36,000 employees and thousands of contractors.
Among the affected workers are Muslim and Asian personnel hired by the FBI to fill vital intelligence and counterterrorism roles.
According to the report, many employees had to cut all ties with family and friends abroad to be removed from the screening program.
Senior FBI officials deny discriminating against their workers and say the program only protects US national security interests.
PARM seems to be only the tip of the iceberg in the FBI’s struggle with its language-related problems.
After 9/11, the US Army also started a campaign to recruit Americans capable of serving as interpreters for languages like Arabic, Pashto, and Dari.
Translators and interpreters who are hired in a target country face more serious problems.
For example, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military employed an estimated 50,000 natives as interpreters, promising them with the reward of migration to the United States.
But after many years, the visa process has been very slow for thousands of those linguists.
The interpreters working for the US and their families are always in great risk since they can be considered traitors.