A recent operation conducted under the guidance of the CIA in Texas resulted in seven Russian foreign nationals being charged in a Houston court with evading US export controls, operating inside the United States as unregistered agents of the Russian Federation, and money laundering. CIA agents operating in Texas are often key to the security of this vitally important state, which is home to more than a dozen strategic military bases and key industries.
Texas has had a long history with the CIA. From investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the most recent dismantling of a Russian spy ring, the agency has been adapting to new situations and working closely with other federal agencies with a presence in the state.
Among its many duties, the CIA regularly provides intelligence reports and warnings to military units stationed in Texas, including:
- Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
- Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth
- Naval Air Station Kingsville
- Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene
- Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo
- Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio
- Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio
- Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio
- Sheppard Air Force Base near Wichita Falls
- Camp Bullis Military Training Reservation near San Antonio
- Camp Mabry in Austin
- Corpus Christi Army Depot
- Fort Bliss, headquartered in El Paso
- Fort Hood in Killeen
- Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio
Requirements for Joining the CIA’s National Clandestine Service in Texas
There are two entry-level positions available for individuals in Texas who seek to join the CIA’s National Clandestine Service: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) and the Clandestine Service Program (CST). The requirement differences for these positions are age and work experience.
PT Program – Applicants for this position are typically between the ages of 21-25 and have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. Most candidates for this position have no previous work experience.
CST Program – Applicants for this position are typically between the ages of 26-35, with 35 being the maximum age. Candidates must hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, along with previous military or work experience.
Requirements that are applicable to each position include:
Education requirements for both programs:
- Minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher as an undergraduate at an accredited college or university
- A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
Qualified candidates for Core Collector entry-level positions will have degrees in:
- Biological Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- International Business or relations
- Nuclear Science
- Physical Science
Required job skills:
- Ability to think and act quickly
- Top notch written and verbal communication skills
- Capability to work independently or as part of a team
- An interest in international affairs
Foreign language experience and travel history:
- Applicants must be fluent in a second language, with preferential treatment being given to candidates who can speak, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Somali, Turkish, Urdu Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Indonesian or Korean.
- Qualified candidates must have prior residence abroad, foreign travel experience or knowledge of foreign countries, as well as a deep-seeded understanding of the importance of cross-cultural sensitivity.
Each candidate for the Core Collector position must complete two preliminary interviews, undergo a comprehensive psychological and medical exam, agree to a polygraph interview and submit to a thorough background check. To be eligible, candidates must also be free from illegal drug use for the prior 12 months.
What it Takes to Become a CIA Special Agent Investigator in Texas
Education and Experience – Candidates for CIA special agent jobs in Texas must meet stringent requirements for employment. Agents must have already proven they can make a years-long commitment and that they have above-average cognitive capabilities. As such, minimum requirements for special agent jobs include having a bachelor’s degree and at least three years experience working in criminal investigations.
Although no particular area of study is specified, relevant subject areas include:
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Law Enforcement
- Political Science
- Criminal Justice
- Computer Science
Application Process – Applying for a CIA Special Agent job begins when an applicant creates an online profile through the CIA’s website. Candidates will have three days to complete the application before their account automatically expires. The application includes a request for information related to:
- Employment and academic history
- Possible conflicting allegiances
- Previous security clearances and polygraph examinations
- Any previous disciplinary issues
- Any previous illegal activity, including drug use and copyright infringement
Applicants must be US citizens who have at least three years of experience in the criminal justice field. Their performance record must be excellent and show leadership in complex situations.
A CIA recruiter will contact competitive applicants to assist them in continuing the process, which will include a detailed background investigation and a polygraph examination. The process also involves a psychological and medical evaluation.
Criminal Investigator Training Program – The CITP is the required CIA training that all new agents complete before receiving their first assignment. This is a 56-day course covering the foundational elements of criminal investigations, where fresh recruits will learn about:
- Firearms and tactical maneuvers
- Driving techniques
- Federal justice system
- Suspect interrogation
- Witness interviewing
- Running undercover and surveillance operations
- Legal procedures, such as:
- Search and arrest warrants
- Criminal complaints
- Case development
Having already completed the CITP for a previous employer can give applicants an advantage during the hiring process.
Historic and Recent CIA Operations in Texas
In the months following President Kennedy’s assassination, the agency went through a major overhaul of its security and intelligence procedures. In the coming years the CIA would take major steps to chase down all possible leads related to conspiracies to assassinate important US figures. It would also expand its intelligence gathering capabilities in the wake of the tragedy.
Since that fateful day in Dallas, the CIA has continued to improve its technological assets and methods in spycraft, leading up to the recent operation against the Russian spy ring based in Houston. Sharing information obtained internationally and through classified means, the agency provided the FBI with enough information to bring espionage-related charges against a total of 11 suspects, four of whom were US citizens. The alleged spies, who may be traded for US assets imprisoned in Russia – similar to a spy swap between the two countries that occurred in 2010 – were accused of illegally exporting $50 million worth of cutting-edge microtechnology to Russia which could be used in:
- Radar systems
- Surveillance applications
- Weapons targeting systems
- Detonation triggers
Working on the other side of the operation, the CIA was able to assist the Russian Colonel who identified the ring by facilitating his safe transport from Russia so he could come live in the United States under a new identity.