CIA recruits at journalism convention

Washington Post journalist Joe Davidson reports from a media recruitment fair in Chicago. He’s a little incredulous at what he finds at “a nondescript stall… at booth number 1709”,

The CIA had set up shop, wedged between recruiters for WNYC, the Portland Oregonian and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, at the Unity Journalists of Color Convention. link

Journalists, it appears, are a shoefit for the US intelligence agency. At a time when newspapers are shedding staff in ever greater numbers, the CIA say they need the “research, writing and communication skills journalists use… to analyze intelligence.” As Davidson goes on to say, this does cause problems for journalists. Many foreign correspondents have found themselves accused of working for intelligence agencies. Take Terry Anderson – the former Associated Press reporter, kidnapped in 1985 and held hostage for over six years in Beirut.

“I have been accused of being a spy, not just on the occasion of my captivity but on other occasions in various places. I was told by a number of people that I was on a list of CIA agents kept by the fundamental Shi’ites who captured me. And that is perception that is very difficult to disprove.” link

It’s a connection that is replayed in films like Spy Game, where Brad Pitt works as a CIA agent posing as a photojournalist in… Beirut.