The Central Intelligence Agency is suffering major attrition among officers working closely with the nation’s elite financial institutions, reports Jeff Stein for Newsweek.
The National Resources Division (NR), a highly-secretive domestic component of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, is responsible for gathering information from Americans who have access to information the CIA needs — like those who have visited or reside in countries like North Korea and China.
Agents in New York tasked with tracking terrorist funds abroad develop sources inside elite firms. The sources give the agents access to world class financial infrastructure and world class intelligence.
After a while though, the temptation for the finer, 1% lifestyle, takes root.
They get a pretty nice housing allowance and all that, but you’ve got an officer who, as part of his portfolio, he’s supposed to be meeting with Joe Blow at Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs. And after a year or two of this, it begins to fray. And you’ve got these people at Goldman Sachs who take a look at you and say, ‘You know, you’re a good guy, you’ve got all the skill sets we need, and, oh, by the way, we’ll basically triple your salary.’ And it’s, you know, ‘When do I start?’ So attrition is a big problem.”
New York City-based NR agents develop these financial resources sources in order to track terrorist funds and bust illegal money transfers around the world.
“There are trillions of dollars of illegal currency in constant circulation. Improved enforcement on transactions is a must, and regulators are pressing for more and better training of professionals in the financial institution sector,” said John James, executive director at the Center for Global Governance, Reporting and Regulation at Pace University in New York.
The revolving door goes both ways, according to Newsweek, since most corporate executives “love hanging out” with the agency’s top spies, seeking to maintain influence in Capitol Hill.
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