FBI sifting through applicants

FBI online job announcement

It seemed like an ambitious undertaking when FBI Director Robert Mueller announced in January that he wanted to hire 900 more special agents by Sept. 30. At the top of his list were computer and information technology specialists.

Now it seems the hard part may be narrowing down the number of applicants.

Since launching a $1 million Internet, radio and newspaper advertising campaign in January, the FBI has received 47,000 applications, Mueller told a House subcommittee June 21. Many of the applicants have applied through an electronic form posted on the bureau's Web site.

In December, the FBI began reorganizing to improve its ability to prevent terrorist attacks. Part of the effort was setting up a Cyber Division to handle investigations into Internet crimes and computer systems and networks that are targeted by foreign intelligence agents and terrorists.

But the FBI was woefully short of computer specialists. In its online ad, the bureau said it was searching for applicants with bachelor of science degrees in computer science or a related field, or bachelor's degrees in any discipline and certification as a "Cisco certified professional" or "Cisco certified Internetworking expert."

The FBI also wanted engineers, scientists, linguists, foreign counterintelligence specialists, investigators, counterterrorism experts, pilots and applicants with military intelligence experience.

Bureau pay starts at $43,705 and increases by $10,000 to $15,000 depending on where agents are assigned after they complete a 16-week training course.

Mueller's effort to overhaul the FBI may be changed slightly by President Bush's plan to create a Homeland Security Department and move some FBI assets there.

The president announced plans June 7 that called for the National Infrastructure Protection Center to be shifted from the FBI to the Homeland Security Department. Mueller said that has since changed. Now only two of three NIPC divisions will be transferred.

The Computer Investigations and Operations Section will stay in the FBI and the Analysis and Warning Section and Training, Outreach and Strategy Section will move to the Homeland Security Department, he said.

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