CIA Boosts Recruitment of Dual Nationals from Latin America

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By Marco Echevarria

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States has intensified its recruitment of dual nationals from Latin America and the Caribbean, aiming to enhance its workforce diversity and benefit from the unique cultural insights and language skills these individuals offer. This strategy is part of the agency’s broader effort to adapt to the complexities of global intelligence challenges.

Brian, who grew up selling fruit on the streets of Trinidad to support his family, now works for the deputy director of the CIA. Both he and his sister, Mia, who also joined the CIA, represent the kind of diverse talent the agency is actively seeking. Their experiences have proved invaluable, particularly when the agency needed insights into the Caribbean region, like when Trinidad became a significant recruiting ground for the Islamic State.

Brian and Mia, whose last names are withheld due to the sensitive nature of their work, are not limited to Caribbean affairs. Their contributions have been vital in various areas, including helping U.S.-born officers understand different cultural nuances.

The CIA’s commitment to diversity has been evident since 2021, with the agency promoting the highest percentages of women and minority officers to senior roles in its 75-year history. CIA Director Bill Burns has emphasized the importance of diversity in the agency, assuring that there is a pathway to the top for individuals from all backgrounds.

The agency has streamlined its recruitment process, reducing the time from application to job offer significantly and cutting down the backlog of applicants drastically. This efficiency has facilitated the inclusion of more diverse talents like Robynne, who moved from Jamaica to Orlando, Florida, as a child and later joined the CIA. Her journey, marked by the initial challenges of imposter syndrome, highlights the diverse backgrounds and experiences that the CIA now embraces.

The CIA’s recruitment drive extends to various professional and academic events to attract a broad range of talents. Recruiters have participated in conferences and career fairs, including the AnitaB.org 2023 Grace Hopper Celebration and the Out and Equal Conference in Orlando, as well as engineering career days at universities.

Mia, who initially worked on the Russia portfolio at the agency, reflects on her journey as a naturalized citizen achieving her dream career. The emphasis is not only on the unique skill sets that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring but also on the resilience and motivation stemming from their life experiences. These qualities are seen as invaluable assets in the world of intelligence and public service.