Although most CIA operations in Pennsylvania are classified, there are some obvious exceptions. As the crash site for United Flight 93 during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pennsylvania is no stranger to CIA investigations. In fact, a prominent CIA Agent from Pennsylvania would be part of the response to the terrorist attacks on that day, leading the CIA operation that in 2002 captured an al Qaeda logistics specialist in Pakistan.
After the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, CIA analysts combed over the recovered wreckage searching for any clues that could be connected with known intelligence that had been gathered abroad. As it turned out, one of Pennsylvania’s own would be instrumental in leading a CIA operation that successfully captured Abu Zubaydah. Known as the Operations Chief for al Qaeda, Zubaydah was identified by a US official as being just as dangerous as Osama bin Laden, and was nabbed in a mission led by Pennsylvania-native John Kiriakou. Zubaydah would ultimately lead CIA Agents to several other important terrorist leaders, not least of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks.
Whether playing the offense or defense, CIA careers in Pennsylvania have led to untold breakthroughs in the War on Terror.
Requirements of Joining the CIA National Clandestine Services in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, individuals interested in pursuing a career in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service can apply to one of two entry-level positions: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) or the Clandestine Service Program (CST).
This position was developed specifically for applicants holding a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree who have no prior work experience. Typically candidates are from 21 to 25 years of age.
The position was developed specifically for applicants holding a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with appropriate work and/or military experience. Typically candidates are between the ages of 26-35, with 35 being the maximum age for consideration.
The primary differences in the programs include age and work requirements. Requirements for the PT and CST programs are highlighted here:
Each applicant should have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a cumulative GPA minimum of 3.0. Candidates who hold degrees in biological engineering, chemical engineering, economics, finance, international business relations, nuclear science or physical science are strongly preferred.
Each applicant should demonstrate strength in sound decision making in both stressful situations and under duress. Qualified candidates must also be able to clearly communicate and have the ability to work independently or in a team environment.
Foreign Affairs Expertise and Experience
Applicants should be fluent in at least one second language, with preference given to those able to speak Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Somali, Turkish and Urdu. Candidates must also possess a deep interest in foreign culture and politics.
Additional Requirements for Employment
During the application process, applicants must participate in two personal interviews, as well as undergo comprehensive psychological and medical exams, an extensive background check and polygraph interview. Additionally, candidates must be free from any illegal drug use for at least 12 months prior to the submission of the application.
Steps to Becoming a CIA Special Agent Investigator in Pennsylvania
Meet the Requirements – US citizens who are interested in applying for CIA jobs in Pennsylvania or anywhere else in the world will need to make sure they meet three basic employment qualifications:
- Good personal history – that means no significant criminal record or illegal activities
- Three years of highly-rated complex criminal investigative experience
- A bachelor’s degree in any subject
Because CIA Agents specialize in a variety of diverse fields, bachelor’s degrees in a range of equally diverse subject areas are also acceptable. These include:
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Law Enforcement
- Criminal Justice
Apply – After registering with the CIA, candidate will have three days to complete an application before their profile becomes automatically inactive. The application will request information about:
- Previous illegal activity
- Specializations, such as language proficiencies
- Education and employment history
- Any previous background checks and security clearances
- Previous employment or military disciplinary actions
A recruiter will contact applicants if they are judged to be competitive, and will commence with the hiring process which includes a thorough background check and psychological evaluation.
Participate in Training – CIA training takes place at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center where new agents will attend the 56-day Criminal Investigator Training Program. Completion of this is mandatory, and training includes the following topics:
- Case development
- Surveillance and undercover operations
- Obtaining an indictment
- Writing and executing search and arrest warrants
- Firearms training
- Tactical driving maneuvers