Rhode Island has an important history of espionage that goes back generations. From housing World War II listening stations to receiving Cold War defectors, the state has played an important role as a partner with the CIA and its predecessors.
CIA jobs in Rhode Island are held by some of the state’s most qualified professionals, who have met specific prerequisites and been able to successfully navigate a strict application procedure.
Requirements for Joining the CIA’s National Clandestine Service in Rhode Island
Any individual interested in pursuing a career with the CIA’s National Clandestine Services in Rhode Island will first be accepted into one of two entry-level positions, dependent on qualifications: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) or the Clandestine Service Program (CST).
Professional Trainee Program:
This program is designed for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree who typically have no prior work experience. Candidates are usually between the ages of 21 to 25.
Clandestine Service Program:
This program is designed for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree and that have prior work or military experience. Candidates are typically between the ages of 26 to 35, with 35 being the max age limit for consideration.
In order to be considered, the PT and CST positions also require the following qualifications:
- 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies
- Have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
Candidates that hold degrees in certain majors are given preference when applying for the Core Collector position. These majors include:
- Chemical engineering
- Global Business Relations
- Nuclear Science
- Physical Science
Each applicant should have a previous history of international residency, expertise in foreign affairs and proficiency in other languages. Candidates who are fluent in Persian, Russian, Somali, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Pashto, or Urdu are highly preferred.
Conditional Employment Requirements
The application process for both programs is similar in nature. Each applicant must participate in two different personal interviews, as well as pass a criminal background check, a comprehensive medical exam, a psychological evaluation and polygraph test. Candidates must also be free from illegal drug use for the 12 months prior to submitting an application. It is important to note that acceptance into these programs is extremely competitive, but that the career path is both exciting and personally fulfilling.
Steps to Becoming a CIA Special Agent Investigator in Rhode Island
Meeting the Minimum Employment Qualifications
One of the most important qualifications applicants need for CIA careers is a bachelor’s degree. Those hired often are some of the best in their class, and often hold majors such areas as:
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Criminal Justice
- Computer Science
- Law Enforcement
Applicants will also need to meet a few other basic CIA requirements:
- Three years of experience in a field related to criminal investigations. The applicant’s employment history must be outstanding and involve challenging work.
- US citizenship
- Be an upstanding member of society
Taking the First Steps Towards Employment
Prospective agents can apply by first creating an online account and selecting the application for the Special Agent/Investigator under the Inspector General. The application includes inquiries regarding:
- Background information
- Work and education history
- Previous polygraph examinations and security clearances
- Previous instances of illegal activity, including copyright infringement
If candidates are able to make it through the hiring process, which includes a very thorough background investigation and character assessment, they will next need to complete the Criminal Investigator Training Program. This required CIA training takes place at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers over the course of 56 days, and provides foundational instruction in:
- Court procedures
- Warrants, criminal complaints, and indictments
- Tactical driving
- Firearms training
- Evidence collection and handling
- Suspect and prisoner interviewing
The CIA and Espionage Programs in Rhode Island
There are a few notable Rhode Island cases involving spies that punctuate important moments in the nation’s history during the Revolutionary War, World War Two, and the Cold War.
In 1775 doctor Benjamin Church, unofficially the first Surgeon General of the US Army and Rhode Island native, was outed as a spy thanks to a chance occurrence that took place in Newport. A baker entrusted with a sealed envelope written by Church decided to open it rather than pass it to its intended recipient, a British officer. Inside he discovered a cyphered inscription that took a team of what would today be known as CIA Cryptologists to decode, revealing a message about American troop strength.
During World War Two, the predecessor agency of the CIA had strategically placed radio monitoring antennae stations throughout the United States. One of these stations was in Rhode Island, and thanks to its location on the Eastern Seaboard was able to detect a secret radio transmission emanating from Portuguese-controlled West Africa directed towards Lisbon.
Aldrich Ames, infamous as the CIA Counterintelligence Agent who betrayed the second-largest number of assets in the history of the agency, provided information to Soviet KGB agents that one of their nuclear experts was actually cooperating with the CIA. The asset was able to smuggle himself out of the Soviet Union and defect to America, where he lives today in Rhode Island.
As is the case with most spy operations, the residents of Rhode Island will not become aware of current and ongoing CIA operations until years later when they are declassified. However whether it be discovering spies of the present or conducting sensitive national security operations, the CIA is today undoubtedly at work in Rhode Island.