FBI Chief Backs Off Comments Urging Pot Smokers to Apply

Image: FBI Chief Backs Off Comments Urging Pot Smokers to Apply

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 01:35 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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FBI director James Comey has quickly backtracked from his remarks earlier this week that appeared to suggest the agency was willing to hire young adults who smoked pot.

Comey told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that he was "absolutely dead set against using marijuana" and that he didn’t plan to change the FBI’s job application regulations, according to NBC News.

The director claimed that his previous comments had intended to be serious and funny at the same time.

On Monday, Comey surprised a legal panel when he said that the agency has stepped up its efforts to catch cybercriminals, and added that the best people for the job are those who enjoy an occasional joint, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cybercriminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," he told a group of lawyers at the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at the New York City Bar Association in New York.

Comey was referring to the fact that most of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking specialists like a toke of marijuana now and then, the Journal reported.

He was even asked by a lawyer at the conference about a friend who was afraid of applying for a job at the FBI due to his pot-smoking habits. "He should go ahead and apply," the director replied.

Comey told the legal group that the agency was "grappling with the question right now" on ways to adjust its pot policy, which currently prohibits the hiring of applicants who have smoked marijuana in the previous three years.

The FBI has been approved by Congress to enlist an extra 2,000 employees to its staff this year, most of whom will be assigned to fight cybercrime, the Journal added.

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