CIA Rules And Regulations
CIA Rules And Regulations
Lindsay Moran (Former CIA Spy) gives expert video advice on: What types of rules does the CIA have for trainees?; What types of rules does the CIA have for employees?; How seriously are CIA rules enforced? and more...
What types of rules does the CIA have for trainees?
Interestingly, the CIA does not tell you that you cannot tell anybody that you're working at the CIA. They kind of leave that up to you. Of course you're discouraged from telling anybody that you work there, but most people tell their spouses, or significant others, or their parents. In my case, my parents and my brother knew that I was working at the CIA and that's pretty typical. But one rule that they have is that any, what they call "close and continuing contacts" you have with a foreigner you have to report to the CIA. So that can be a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, significant other, any relationships that you have with foreigners are significant in your life, the CIA has to know about, and they will perform a background investigation of sorts on that individual to make sure that they don't pose any threat to the agency. And very often you might be asked to discontinue your relationship with that foreigner, and that is a steadfast rule that as a trainee and later on as an employee, you're not supposed to break.
What types of rules does the CIA have for employees?
The rules that the CIA has for its employees are pretty extensive. You have a sense when you're working for the agency almost that the head courter is like your father and anything that you do you have to report to dad, and this includes relationships you have with foreigners and any travel that you are going to make to a foreign country. And the reason the CIA has these very strict rules applying to your foreign contacts is because the agency has been burned a number of times in the past where there had been an internal moll in the CIA who was actually working for say the Russians or who were working for a foreign intelligence service. For that reason the agency itself keeps these kind of big brother's checks on its employees and pretty much everything that you do and all of your personal life ends bleeding over your professional life because you have to report everything to your superior or to the security personnel at the CIA.
How seriously are CIA rules enforced?
The CIA rules are enforced pretty seriously, particularly at the lower level, that is when you're a trainee. If you break the rules, it's very easy for the agency to boot you from the program. They haven't invested that much money or time in you, you don't know a lot, so at that particular point in your carrer, it's important to follow the rules. I will say that later on I certainly know of plenty of CIA officers who did not adhere to the rules. Sometimes they received a slap on the wrist, and sometimes they were actually fired. But I won't say that the rules get looser as you go on down the line through your career, but I will say that it was certainly not unheard of, and in fact it was common headquarters gossip when somebody would break one of the rules, that is have a relationship with a foreign agent that they weren't reporting or becoming romantically involved with one of their agents or something like that. It's supposed to be taboo, but of course it happens.
Are the rules of the CIA outdated?
The rules of the CIA are not outdated in the sense that the agency always has to be on its toes. It has to always be wary of foreigners because we've been burned before, and we had CIA officers who had been recruited by foreign intelligence officers. One of the things that the CIA rules don't take into account is that the agency, and in particular the spies, tend to be a dynamic group of people who like to interact with foreigners, and inevitably they end up having close and continuous relationships with foreigners, many of which turn into romances or marriages. The CIA has thus adapted the rules a little bit. It used to be completely forbidden to have a romantic relationship with foreigners. As the CIA developed and the clandestine service developed, they realized that it was going to happen all the time. You have young, single people living overseas who are going to end up dating other young single people, and they might be foreign. They've adapted in that sense but they're still extremely distrustful of foreigners. One reason that's a shame is that we could use a lot of first generation Americans in our fight against terrorism. The CIA is still very distrustful for those people, and most of them are not going to be able to be hired by the CIA.
What types of regulations restrict employees from having a personal life?
I would say the foremost regulation that restricts employees from having a personal life is the need to report all of your contacts - not only with foreigners, but sometimes with other Americans - to the Central Intelligence Agency. For example, before you get married, even if you're going to marry an American citizen, the agency will provide you a fifteen page document to fill out information about this person, even if it's an American citizen. When I became engaged, I was given a document to fill out on my husband with information about his family that seemed to go back to the Civil War. And they're all American citizens. And it was, to me personally, at this point where I realized that the CIA was exerting a little bit too much control over my personal life. And at the same time, that's part of being an employee of the CIA. It's something that if you want to stay there for a career, you have to accept - that's what you sign up for.
Do CIA employees follow the rules and regulations?
Not all CIA employees follow the rules and regulations. I would say typical head quarter's gossip on any given day, which usually includes some stories about somebody who has broken the rules and what the repercussions have been. In my experience, the agency tended to be very much a good old boys network and i think a lot of the women who work there felt that the rules were applied more so to the female employees than they were to the male employees. There was a sense that when a male employee broke the rules, there was sort of a boys will be boys attitude, and that was all swept under the carpet. Whereas a female employee generally faced pretty serious repercussions; sometimes affecting her career, or sometimes being fired by the CIA. So, while there's this understanding that everybody will follow the rules, people do break the rules and just like any big business or organization; its not always consistent in what the repercussions of breaking the rules are.