Agents of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) work to provide intelligence to policymakers in the U.S., much of which relates to national security. Maryland’s CIA agents are currently working with the state government to make major improvements to Maryland’s homeland security preparedness by 2016. This includes making improvements in information/intelligence sharing, cyber security, critical infrastructure protection, mass casualty/hospital surge preparedness, biosurveillance, transportation security, and more. All these new initiatives are designed to keep Maryland and the rest of the United States safe from terrorist threats, both domestic and international.
CIA agents in Maryland often work with the Governor’s office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and state officials such as the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, Maryland State Police and Maryland Office of Homeland Security to achieve these goals.
How to Become a Core Collector with the CIA in Maryland
There are two entry-level positions available for candidates living in Maryland who are interested in a Core Collector position with the CIA’s National Clandestine Service: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) and the Clandestine Service Program (CST).
PT Program – For applicants between 21 and 25 years of age with a Bachelor’s degree and no previous work experience.
CST Program – For applicants between 26 and 35 years of age. Candidates must also have previous work or military experience and a Bachelor’s degree.
Conditional Core Collector Career Requirements
Candidates applying for the Core Collector career in Maryland must also complete two initial interviews, complete a medical and psychological exam, undergo an extensive background check and submit to a polygraph interview. To move ahead in the application process, individuals must also be free from illegal drug use for 12 months prior to applying, which is determined through the medical and security screening.
Minimum Scholastic Requirements
Individuals applying for the Core Collector position should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a strong interest in foreign affairs. Superb interpersonal and communication skills are also required.
Preferred degrees include:
- Chemical or biological engineering
- International business or relations
- Nuclear or physical science
International and National Requirements
Additional requirements for the Core Collector positions in Maryland include:
- Proficiency in a foreign language
- Previous residency in a foreign country
- Cross cultural understanding and sensitivity
- Foreign travel experience
Meeting the Criteria for CIA Special Agent Jobs in Maryland
There are four main sections to the CIA, each of which offers its own career opportunities:
- Director of Support – responsible for support services within the agency
- Directorate of Science and Technology – develops technical systems used by CIA agents
- National Clandestine Service – a secret political and military activity group within the CIA
- Directorate of Intelligence – provides intelligence to those who craft U.S. policy
Basic Qualifications – CIA agents fall under the control of the Directorate of Intelligence and must meet the following criteria:
- U.S. citizenship
- 18 years or older
- No illicit drug use in past 12 months
- Pass mental and physical examinations
- Pass background check and polygraph test
- Have no copyright law violation/intellectual property law violations
- Will agree to keep the job a secret from friends and family
Education and Experience Requirements – Prospective Maryland CIA agents must meet certain educational and experience requirements prior to applying:
- Possess a bachelor degree in any field
- Possess at least three years of experience in criminal investigations
Applicants who are fluent in Middle Eastern languages, such as Farsi or Arabic, have an advantage over other applicants at this time, per the CIA’s chief recruiter in 2011.
Training for CIA Special Agents – If a new CIA agent in Maryland has not yet taken the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), he or she must first complete this program. While FLETC headquarters is in Georgia, a satellite office exists in Cheltenham, Maryland, and is where some new recruits may be sent for this part of the training. Basic criminal investigation training is provided during this 56 day-long training. It includes investigative techniques, firearms, driving, and practical drills such as canine operations and crowd control.
The next portion of a new Maryland CIA agent’s training takes place at the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis in Reston, Virginia. Called the Career Analyst Program (CAP), this 18-month long training also mixes practical drills with classroom courses in counterintelligence skills, foreign languages, and analysis.
The CIA in Maryland
The CIA Office of Special Technology is reportedly located in Fort Washington, Maryland. This office is said to be camouflaged as a U.S. Navy research facility but many report that it is actually under the control of the CIA. Listening devices and “bugs” are developed here for the State Department and CIA, as well as other secret devices that are used by CIA agents in surveillance, collection and operations.
The National Security Agency (NSA), which is closely tied to the CIA, also has its offices in Maryland, in Fort Meade.
A former CIA agent from Maryland recently saw his story told on the big screen to critical and popular acclaim. “Argo,” the 2012 movie, depicts former CIA agent Tony Mendez’ successful efforts to free six American hostages in Iran during the 1979-80 hostage crisis. Mendez enjoyed seeing actor Ben Affleck portray him on the big screen, and the movie won Academy Awards. “Argo” tells the tale of how CIA agent Mendez got the hostages out of Iran by disguising himself and the hostages as non-Americans scouting locations for a movie. Today, Mendez is enjoying retirement in the western part of Maryland, near Frederick.