The FBI, famous for its straight-laced crime- fighting image, is considering whether to relax its hiring rules over how often applicants could have used marijuana or other illegal drugs earlier in life, reports the Associated Press. Some senior FBI managers have been deeply frustrated that they could not hire applicants who acknowledged occasional marijuana use in college, but in some cases had already performed top-secret work at other government agencies, such as the CIA or State Department.
FBI Director Robert Mueller will make the final decision. “We can’t say when or if this is going to happen, but we are exploring the possibility,” spokesman Stephen Kodak said. The change would ease limits about how often – and how many years ago – applicants for jobs such as intelligence analysts, linguists, computer specialists, accountants and others had used illegal drugs. The rules, however, would not be relaxed for FBI special agents, the fabled “G-men” who conduct most criminal and terrorism investigations. The new plan would continue to ban current drug use. Current rules prohibit the FBI from hiring anyone who used marijuana within the past three years or more than 15 times ever. They also ban anyone who used other illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, within the past 10 years or more than five times. The new FBI proposal would judge applicants based on their “whole person” rather than limiting drug-related experiences to an arbitrary number.