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ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນ ​ເຝິກ​ງານ ​ຢູ່ ​ອົງ​ການ ຊີ​ໄອ​ເອ ຊ່ວຍ​ປ້ອງ​ກັນ ຄວາມ​ລັບ​ ຂອງ​ປະ​ເທດ


ຜູ້​ຊາຍ​ຄົນ​ນຶ່ງ​ຍ່າງ​ຂ້າມ ສັນ​ຍາ​ລັກ​ ອົງ​ການສືບ​ລັບ ຊີ​ໄອ​ເອ ທີ່ຫ້ອງການໃຫຍ່ ​ໃນເມືອງ​​ແ​ລງ​ເລ ລັດ​ເວີ​ຈີ​ເນຍ.

ຢູ່ເບື້ອງ​ຫຼັງ​ຫ້ອງ​ປິດ​ປະ​ຕູທີ່ ​ອົງ​ການສູນ​ກາງ​ສືບ​ລັບ ຫຼື CIA ທີມພວກ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່ນັກ​ສືບ
ລັບ​ສຸດ​ຍອດ​ທີ​ມນຶ່ງ ພາ​ກັນ​ເຝົ້າຮັກ​ສາ​ຄວາມ​ລັບ​ຂອງ​ປະ​ເທດຢູ່. ມີ​ສອງ​ສາມ​ຄົນ​ອາ​ຍຸ​
ບໍ່​ເຖິງ​ກະ​ສຽນ ພໍ​ທີ່​ຈະ​ດື່ມ​ເຫົ​້ຼາໄດ້​ເທ​ື່ອ ກຳ​ພ​ວມ​ຝຶກ​ງານ​ຢູ່​ກັບ​ພວກ​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ ຮ່ວມ​ກັບ
ພວກ​ນັກ​ສຶກ​ສາ​ຂັ້ນ​ມະ​ຫາ​ວິ​ທະ​ຍາ​ໄລ ທາງ​ຂັ້ນ​ປະ​ລິນ​ຍາ​ຕີ ແລະ​ສູງກວ່າ​ນັ້ນ ຊຶ່ງ
ກິ່ງ​ສະ​ຫວັນ ຈະ​ມີ​ລາຍ​ງານ​ມາ​ສະ​ເໜີ​ທ່ານ.

ມີສອງສາມຄົນອາ​ຍຸ​ບໍ່​ເຖິງ​ກະ​ສ​ຽນພໍ​ທີ່​ຈະ​ດື່ມ​ເຫຼົ້າ​ໄດ້ເທື່ອ.

ທ້າວໄມ​ເກີ​ລ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ນີ້​ແມ່ນ​ນຶ່ງ​ໃນ​ຈຳ​ນວນ​ນັກ​ຮຽນ​ເຝິກ​ງານ​ທີ່ບໍ່​ຫຼາຍ ຊຶ່ງໃນ​ແຕ່​ລະ
​ວັນ ​ທ່ານຈະ​ສາ​ມາດຕັດ​ສິນ​ໃຈໄດ້ ໃນສິ່ງທີ່​ຈະ​ເປັນ​ຜົນ​ກະ​ທົບ​ຕໍ່​ຄວາມ​ໝັ້ນ​ຄົງ​ຂອງ
ປະ​ເທດ​ເຮົາ. ທ່ານຈະ​ເປັນ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ສືບ​ລັບ​ຄົນ​ຕໍ່​ໄປ​ຂອງ​ສະ​ຫະ​ລັດ. ທ່ານຈະ​ບໍ່ຖືກ
​ປະຕິບັດຕໍ່ ຄື​ກັນກັບຜູ້​ມາເຝິກ​ງານຄົນທຳມະດາສາມັນທົ່ວໄປ​ຢູ່​ທີ່​ນີ້.”

ບັນ​ດາ​ຜູ້ເຝິກ​ງານໜຸ່ມ​ນ້ອຍທີ່ມີ​ອາ​ຍຸພຽງ 18 ປີ ແລະ​ຢູ່​ຂັ້ນ​ມັດ​ທະ​ຍົມ​ກໍຈະສາ​ມາດ​
ເຂົ້າ​ຮ່ວມກັບພວກ​ນັກ​ສຶກ​ສາ​ຂັ້ນ​ປະ​ລິນ​ຍາ​ຕີ ແລະສູງກວ່ານັ້ນຂຶ້ນໄປ ເຂົ້າຝຶກງານຢູ່
CIA. ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນທັງຫຼາຍຈະ​ສາ​ມາດ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​ຢູ່​ໃນ​ຫຼາຍຂະ ແ​ໜງ ນັບຈ​າກ​ຄວາມ
ປອດ​ໄພ​ດ້ານ​ຄອມ​ພິວ​ເຕີ​ ໄປ​ຫາ​ການ​ແຕ້ມ​ແຜ​ນ​ທີ່ ແລະ​ການ​ອອກ​ແບບ.

ເຖິງ​ແມ່ນ​ວ່າ​ທ້າວ​ໄມ​ເກີ​ລ ແລະ​ເພື່ອນ​ເຝິກ​ງານດ້ວຍກັນ ຄື​ ນາງ​ຊາ​ມັນ​ທາ ນາງຊິ​ແອ​ຣາ
ແລະ ນາງ​ນິ​ໂກ​ລ ຈະ​ຢູ່​ໃນ​ຂະ​ແໜງສະເພາະ​ ທີ່​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ​ບໍ່​ຕື່ນ​ເຕັ້ນປານໃດ ເຊັ່ນວິຊາ
ສະຖາປັດຕະຍະກຳ ດ້ານການ​ເງິນ ຊັບ​ພະ​ຍາ​ກອນ​ມະ​ນຸດ ແລະ​ເຄືອຄ່າຍການສົ່ງຂ່ຽນ
ກໍຕາມ​ ແຕ່ວ່າທຸກ​ສິ່ງ​ທຸກ​ຢ່າງຢູ່ທີ່ນີ້ ຈະ​ເປັນ​ໜ້າ​ຕື່ນ​ເຕັ້ນ​ໝົດ ໃນບັນຍາກາດຂອງຄວາມ
ໝັ້ນ​ຄົງແຫ່ງຊາດ.​ (ພວກ​ເຝິກ​ງານ​ຈະພາ​ກັນ​ຖືກຮ້ອງແຕ່​ຊື່​ລ້າໆ ແລະບໍ່ໃຫ້ໃຊ້ນາມສະ
ກຸນ ເພື່ອ​ປ້ອງ​ກັນບໍ່ໃຫ້ຮູ້​ຈັກຄອບ​ຄົວຂອງພວກ​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ວ່າ​ແມ່ນ​ໃຜ.)

ທ້າວໄມ​ເກີ​ລ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ຂ້າ​ພ​ະ​ເຈົ້າ​ໄດ້​ເຂົ້າ​ຮ່ວມ​ປະ​ຊຸມ​ລະ​ດັບ​ສູງ ​ທີ່​ພົວ​ພັນ​ກັບ​ບັນ​ດາ​ຜູ້​
ສຳ​ຄັນ​ທັງ​ຢູ່​ນອກ​ທະ​ວີບ​ສະ​ຫະ​ລັດ ແລະ​ພາຍ​ໃນສະ​ຫະ​ລັດ.” ເຖິງ​ແມ່ນ​ວ່າ​ ການ​ອອກ
​ແບບ​ຫ້ອງ​ນ້ຳ​ອາດ​ປາ​ກົດ​ວ່າ​ບໍ່​ເປັນ​ສິ່ງ​ສຳ​ຄັນ ແຕ່ສິ່ງ​ເຫລົ່າ​ນີ້​ກໍແມ່ນໄດ້​ຖືກວາງ​ແຜນໄວ້
ເພື່ອ​ຮັບມືກັບ​ການ​ໂຈມ​ຕີ​ກໍ່​ການ​ຮ້າຍ. ວຽກ​ງານ​ຂອງ​ລາວ ໄດ້​ພາໃຫ້ລາວ ໄດ້ມາ​ນັ່ງໂຕະ
​ກັບ​ພວກ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ຂັ້ນ​ສູງ. “ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ໄດ້​ພົບ​ປະກັ​ບ​ປະທາ​ນາ​ທິ​ບໍ​ດີ​ສອງ​ທ່ານ​ທີ່​ມາ​
ຈາກສອງ​ປະ​ເທດ.”

ສ່ວນນາງ​ຊາ​ມັນ​ທາ ກໍກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ຂ້າພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ໂຊກ​ດີພໍ​ ທີ່​ໄດ້​ໄປ​ທຳ​ນຽບ​ຫ້າ​ແຈ.” ​ເວລາ
ເຈົ້າໄດ້ເຫັນມັນ​ພຽງ​ແຕ່​ຢູ​ໃນໂທ​ລະ​ພາບ ແຕ່​ວ່າເມື່ອ​ໄດ້​ໄປ​ບ່ອນຫັ້ນ​ດ້ວຍ​ຕົນ​ເອງ
ຢ່າງເປັນທາງ​ການ ມັນກໍ​ເປັນອີກ​ເລື່ອງນຶ່ງ​ ມັນ​ຄັກ​ອີ່​ຫຼີ.”

ເຖິງ​ແມ່ນບັນ​ດາ​ຜູ້​ເຝິກ​ງານຈະ​ກ່າວ​ວ່າ ອົງ​ການ​ນີ້ຈະໃຫ້​ຄວາມ​ສໍາ​ຄັນ​ແກ່​ປະ​ສົບການ
ທີ່​ຫຼາກຫຼາຍກໍຕາມ ແຕ່ສ່ວນ​ໃຫຍ່​ຂອງ​ບັນ​ດາ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ສືບ​ລັບ ຮວມ​ທັງ​ພວກເຝິກ​ງານ
ນຳ ກໍຈະວ່າວຽກນີ້ເໝາະ​ສົມໃນ​ການ​ເປັນ​ຜູ້​ນຳພາ.

ນາງ​ຊິ​ເອ​ຣາ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ຄິດ​ວ່າ CIA ຈະມັກຄົນປະເພດ ຫຼືພວກທີ່ຖືກຈັດ
ວ່າເປັນໂຕ A ມີ​ການ​ຈັດ​ຕັ້ງດີ ເປັນບຸກ​ຄົນ​ທີ່​ມີແຮງຜັກດັນ ແລະ​ນັ້ນ​ແມ່ນ​ຜູ້​ທີ່​ເຂົາ​
ເຈົ້າ​ດືງ​ດູດ​ເອົາເຂົ້າ​ມາ. ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ​ເປັນມັນເປັນ​ເລື່ອງ​ຕະ​ຫລົກ​ທີ່​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ
​ພວກ​ເຮົາ​ທັງ​ໝົດ​ກໍ​ຄື​ກັນ.”

ທ້າ​ວ​ໄມ​ເກີ​ລ​ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ມັນຄ້າຍໆກັບວ່າ ​ທ່ານ​ໄດ້​ພົບ​ເຫັນ​ຜູ້ຄົນ​ເປັນຈຳນວນຫຼວງ
​ຫຼາຍຜູ້​ທີ່​ຄື​ກັນ​ກັບ​ທ່ານ.”
ລາວ​ເວົ້າ​ວ່າ ເວ​ລາ​ລາວ​ກັບ​ຄືນ​ໄປ​ໂຮງ​ຮຽນ ມື້​ວັນ​ບໍ່ໄດ້ເປັນ
ໄປຄືກັນກັບສິ່ງທີ່ລາວຄິດກ່ຽວ​ກັບ​ອົງ​ການ ຊີໄອເອ.

ປະ​ຊາ​ຄົມ​ທີ່​ມີ​ຄວາມໃກ້​ຊິດ ​ບໍ່​ພຽງ​ແຕ່ຈະ​ເປັນ​ຜົນ​ກຳໄລສຳລັບການໄປເຝິກງານ​ຢູ່​ CIA.
ອົງ​ການດັ່ງກ່າວ​ສະ​ເໜີໃຫ້​ທຶນການສຶກສາ ແກ່​ຜູ້ທີ່ມີຄຸນ​ສົມບັດ​ໃນຂັ້ນ​ປະ​ລິນ​ຍາ​ຕີ ຫຼາຍ
ເຖິງ 18,000 ໂດ​ລາ​ຕໍ່​ປີ ສຳລັບລາຍຈ່າຍບັງຄັບ ພ້ອ​ມ​ທັງ​ຄ່າ​ປື້ມ ຄ່າອາ​ຫານ ໃນລະ
​ຫວ່າງ​ການ​ພັກຮຽນ​ລະ​ດູ​ຮ້ອນ ຈ່າຍ​ຄືນໃຫ້ສຳລັບ​ຄ່າເດີນ​ທາງ ໄດ້​ຮັບ​ຄ່າ​ປະ​ກັນ​ໄພ​ສຸ
​ຂະ​ພາບ ແລະ​ປະ​ກັນ​ໄພ​ຊີ​ວິດ ແຜນ​ບຳ​ນານ​ລັດ​ຖະ​ບານ​ກາງ ແລະ​ຈ່າຍ​ຄ່າ​ເວ​ລາ​ພັກ
ທັງ​ວັນ​ພັກ ແລະ​ເວ​ລາ​ເຈັບ​ປ່ວຍອີກ​ດ້ວຍ.

ສຸດແລ້ວແຕ່ໂຄງການຈະແມ່ນອັນໃດ ເງິນເດືອນຂັ້ນຕໍ່າສຸດຈະເລີ້ມແຕ່ 29,715 ໂດ​ລາ ຂຶ້ນໄປຫາ 49,036 ຕໍ່​ປີ.

ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນ​ເຝິກ​ງານຈະ​ເວົ້າ​ເຖິງ​ຄວາມ​ຮູ້​ສຶກ​ຂອງ​ການ​ເປັນ​ກ້ອ​ນເປັນ​ໜ່ວຍກັນ ​ເປັນ​
ນ້ຳ​ນຶ່​ງໃຈ​ດຽວກັນ ເຮັດ​ໃຫ້​ຮວມ​ຫົວກັນ ຊຶ່ງຈະ​ເຮັດ​ໃຫ້​ສິ່ງ​ແວດ​ລ້ອມໃນ​ການ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​
ມິ​ຄວາມ​ຮູ້​ສຶກ​ເຂັ້​ມ​ແຂງດີ.

ນາ​ງ​ຊາ​ມັນ​ທາ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ພົບ​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ ​ທຸກໆ​ຄົນມີ​ຄວາມ​ອົບ​ອຸ່ນ​ແທ້ໆ ແລະ​
ເປັນ​ມິດ​ຕະ​ພາບກັນດີ. ທຸກໆ​ຄົນ​ຢາກຮຽນຮູ້ ເພາະ​ວ່າ​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ຕ້ອງ​ການ​ຢາກ​ຮູ້ຫຼາຍ
ທີ່ສຸດ​ເທົ່າ​ທີ່​ຈະ​ສາ​ມາດ​ຮູ້​ໄດ້​ໃນ​ໄລ​ຍະ​ເວລາສັ້ນໆທີ່​ທ່ານ​ມີນີ້."

ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນເຝິກງານໄດ້​ອະ​ທິ​ບາຍ​ເຖິງ​ບັນ​ຍາ​ກາດ ທີ່ໃຫ້​ການ​ສະ​ໜັບ​ສະ​ໜູນກັນ​ໃນ
ບັນດາ​ເພື່ອນ​ຮ່ວມ​ງານ ​ມີ​ຄວາມທີ່​ກະ​ຕື​ລື​ລົ້ນ​ຢ​າກ​ສິດ​ສອນ ແລະ​ສະ​ໜັບ​ສະ​ໜູນ​ບັນ​ດາ
​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ຄົນ​ໃໝ່.

ນາງ​ຊິ​ເອ​ຣາ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ມັນ​ແມ່ນ​ບັນ​ຍາ​ກາດ​ບ່​ອນ​ທີ່​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ຄາດ​ໝາຍໃຫ້ທ່ານໃຊ້
ຄວາມຄິດຂອງ​ຕົນ​ເອງ ທັງເປັນ​ບ່ອນ​ທີ່​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ຄາດ​ໝາຍ​ໃນ​ທີ່​ສຸດທ່ານຈະ​ໄດ້​ຮັບ​
ຄຳຕອບ​ທີ່​ຖືກຕ້ອງ. ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ໂຍນທ່ານລົງ​ໄປຫັ້ນ.”

ທ້າວ​ໄມ​ເກີ​ລ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ ແລະ​ທຸກ​ຄົນ​ປະ​ຕິ​ບັດ​ງານ​ອັນດຽວ​ກັນ “ມັນ​ເປັນ​ບ່ອນ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​
ທີ່​ມີ​ການ​ຮ່ວມ​ມື​ກັນດີ. ຢູ່​ໃນສະ​ພາບສືບ​ລັບ ຢູ່​ໃນ​ສະ​ພາບຄວາມ​ລັບ ພວກ​ເຮົາ​ຕ້ອງ
​ອີງອາ​ໄສ​ຄວາມ​ຮູ້ຂອງ​ຄົນ​ອື່ນເພື່ອ​ຈະສາ​ມາດເຮັດ​ທຸກ​ສິ່ງ​ຢ່າງ​ທີ່​ພວກ​ເຮົາ​ເຮັດ​ໄດ້.”

ການ​ປົກ​ຄຸ​ມ​ຂອງ​ຄວາມບໍ່​ກະ​ຈ່າງ​ແຈ້ງ​ພາຍ​ໃຕ້​ການ​ປະ​ຕິ​ບັດ​ງານ​ຂອງ CIA ​ຈະ ແຜ່​ລາມ
​ອອກ​ໄປ​ຫາ​ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນ. ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ພຽງ​ແຕ່ສາ​ມາດບອກ​ບັນ​ດາເພື່ອນ​ທີ່ໃກ້​ຊິດ ແລະ
​ຄອບ​ຄົວ​ໄດ້​ວ່າ ​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​ໃຫ້​ແກ່​ອົງ​ການ ແລະ​ຕ້ອງ​ປ່ຽນ​ທິດ​ທາງ​ສຳລັບ​ຄົນ​ອື່ນໆ
​ຜູ້​ທີ່​ຖາມ​ວ່າ ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​ຢູ່​ໃສ.

ນາງ​ຊາ​ມັນ​ທາ ກ່າວ​ວ່າ “ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ພະ​ຍາຍ​າມ​ເຮັດ​ໃຫ້​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າ​ຫງຸດ​ຫງິດ​ກ່ຽວ​ກັບ
​ການເງິນ. ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ຈະບອກ​ວ່າ​ ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ເຮັດ​ວຽກ​ບັນ​ຊີ ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າທຳ​ຄວາມ​
ກ້ຳ​ເກີ່ງ ແລະ​ເວ​ລ​າ​ນັ້ນ ທ່ານກໍຈະ​ເລີ້ມ​ໄປເຖິງ​ຈຸດ​ທີ່​ບໍ່ຢາກ​ສົນໃຈອີກແລ້ວ​.”

ສ່ວນນາງ​ນິ​ໂກ​ລ ​ແມ່ນຈະກັບ​ຄືນ​ໄປ​ຫາ​ການ​ສົນ​ທະ​ນາໃນທາງອື່ນກັບຄົນຜູ້​ທີ່​ນາງ​
ເວົ້າ​ນຳ.

“ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າພົບ​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ ຖ້າ​ຫາກ​ທ່ານ​ເຮັດ​ໃຫ້​ຜູ້​ໃດ​ຜູ້​ນຶ່ງ​ເວົ້າ​ກ່ຽວ​ກັບ​ເຂົາ​ເຈົ້າເອງ
ໃນ​ລະ​ດູ​ຮ້ອນ​ນີ້ວ່າ​ແມ່ນ​ຫຍັງ? ເຈົ້າ​ເຮັດ​ຫຍັງ? ການ​ພັກ​ຂອງ​ເຈົ້າ​ເປັນ​ຢ່າງ​ໃດ ມັນກໍ
ຈະ​ງ່າຍດີ.”

ຄວາມ​ລັບ​ແມ່ນ​ມີ​ຄວາມ​ຈຳ​ເປັນ ເພາະ​ວ່າ​ພວກ​ນັກ​ຮຽນ​ເຝິກ​ງານ​ຫຼາຍ​ຄົນຈະ​ພາ​ກັນ​ກັບ​ຄືນ​ມາອີກ​ຫຼັງຈາກ​ລະ​ດູ​ຮ້ອນນຶ່ງແລ້ວ ແລະ​ໃນ​ທີ່​ສຸດ​ກໍຈະກາຍ​ມາ​ເປັນ​ພວກ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ສືບ​ລັບ​ເຕັມ​ເວ​ລາ.

Behind closed doors at the Central Intelligence Agency, an elite team of intelligence officers guards the nation's secrets.

A few of them aren't old enough to drink.

"This is one of the few internships where every day, you could be making decisions that affect the national security of our nation," said Michael. "You're the next intelligence officer for the United States. You're not treated like a typical intern here."

Interns as young as 18 and in high school can join the CIA with undergraduate and graduate students. Students can work in fields ranging from cybersecurity to cartography to graphic design.

Although Michael and fellow interns Samantha, Sierra and Nicole specialize in fields that might sound mundane — architecture, finance, human resources and supply chains — everything is more exciting in the national security context, they say. (The interns are identified only by first names to protect their identities.)

"I've been able to attend high-level meetings involving major players both outside the continental United States and within the continental United States," said Michael.

Although designing bathrooms might not seem critical, they are planned to withstand terrorist attacks. His work has brought him to the table with high-ranking officials.

"I've been able to meet with two presidents of two different foreign nations," he said.

"I was lucky enough to get to go to the Pentagon," Samantha said. "You see it on TV, but to be there in person on official business is really cool."

Although the interns said the agency values diversity of experience, most of the intelligence officers, interns included, fit a leadership profile.

"I think that the CIA likes the Type A, organized, motivated type individual, and that's exactly who they attract. I find it funny how similar we all are," Sierra said.

"It's like you've found a ton of people who are exactly like you," said Michael. When he's back at school, a day doesn't go by that he isn't thinking about the agency, he added.

Numerous perks

A close-knit community is not the only benefit of interning at the CIA. The agency offers scholarships to financially qualified undergraduates that include tuition assistance up to $18,000 per calendar year; mandatory fees and books; meal allowances during summer tours; transportation reimbursement; health and life insurance; federal retirement plans; and paid time off, both holiday and sick.

Not to mention starting salaries between $29,715 and $49,036 annually, depending on the program.

The interns gush about a sense of togetherness and belonging that makes for an inclusive and invigorating work environment.

"I found everyone to be incredibly warm and friendly," Samantha said. "Everyone wants you to learn because they want you to know as much as you can in the short period that you have."

The interns describe an atmosphere of supportive colleagues eager to teach and support new officers.

"It's very much an atmosphere where they expect you to think on your feet and where they expect you to eventually get the right answer," Sierra said. "They really throw you in."

And with everyone working for the same mission, "it's a very collaborative place to work," Michael added. "In an intelligence setting, in a secret setting, we have to rely on other people's knowledge to be able to do everything that we do."

Veil of secrecy

The cover of opacity under which the CIA operates extends to its interns. They can only tell close friends and family that they work for the agency and must redirect anyone else who asks where they work.

"I try to bore them with finance," Samantha said. "I say that I do accounting, I balance, and then you start to lose them at that point."

Nicole deflects the conversation back to the person with whom she's speaking.

"I've found that if you get someone talking about themselves — 'Oh, what's your internship this summer? What are you doing? How was your vacation?' — it's easy."

The secrecy is necessary because many interns return summer after summer and eventually become full-time intelligence officers.

"When coming to this internship, they described it as a three-month-long interview, and I agree with that," Nicole explained. "They're really trying to shape you for that next step while you're here for your internship."

Most of the interns said that after they applied, they did not expect an offer.

"I put in my application not thinking I would hear anything back, kind of laughing at myself," Nicole said, "and somehow, I ended up here."

Samantha thought because she did not speak a foreign language, she wouldn't be a good candidate. But language skills are not a strict prerequisite at the agency.

"I think a lot of people think they need a language," Sierra said. "You don't have to have it, but maybe a desire to want to learn would be something that would help."

Key qualities of interns

Instead, the agency emphasizes strength of character. Because interns — who can be dual citizens — are trusted with the nation's secrets, they must be trustworthy.

"When they go to hire interns, integrity is probably one of the highest skill sets that they're looking for," said Michael.

Applicants must successfully complete a medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and a comprehensive background investigation. Hiding things in the application is a "non-starter," he continued. (They'll find out anyway, he said, so save yourself the trouble).

Applicants must be patient, as well as honest. Even after an offer of employment is extended, each intern must be granted a security clearance. The process usually takes at least a year, sometimes more. Samantha's processing, for example, took two years.

She said watching movies about national security helped keep her motivation up. "Seeing what we've done as a nation and seeing why we're doing what we're doing gives you that little motivation to keep going with the process," she said.

"I think people's fear of being rejected keeps them from applying," Samantha added. "But this is a great opportunity. Take a chance, send in the application. You might end up as one of us."

ທ່ານອາດຈະມັກເລື້ອງນີ້ຄືກັນ

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