By Aaron Kesel
A recent article in CNN tells the tale of teens whose friends think they are spying on their phone conversations because they work for the National Security Agency (NSA) at the complex at Fort Meade in Maryland.
CNN expresses that three 18-year-old teens who graduated from high schools in Maryland — Summer, Brianna and Simon — are among more than 150 high schoolers in a work study program at the NSA. These students are then given TS/SCI or Top Secret security clearance access to U.S. secrets.
“Recruiters at the NSA (and other intelligence agencies, like the CIA, have similar programs) know that when it comes to hiring smart, driven, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-minded young people, they are competing with the flashiness and deep pockets of Silicon Valley. So, they aim young and try to dazzle the teens with the work, rather than the paycheck,” CNN wrote.
CNN tries to give lightheartedness to the subject, but fails to address the concern about giving teens the responsibility of handling such highly classified information and the other problem at hand. The fact that teens in schools in Maryland and possibly elsewhere are being taken into the NSA and brainwashed into working for the establishment while attempting to balance their studies. The NSA and agencies alike also use the Web, social media and job fairs to recruit students. Although, some of the students filled out a long application on intelligencecareers.gov.
“Once they’re here they get that sense of purpose from what they’re doing every day and they see that they can do things here that they can’t do anywhere else,” Courtney, an NSA recruiter told CNN. (Her last name withheld for security reasons.)
“We want to get them in and get them hooked early to the mission so they can have a long career here. There’s more emphasis now on student programs than I think there’s ever been to try to get them when they’re young. Get them hooked young,” Courtney added.
According to the article, the students are required to intern and go to Fort Meade every summer during college; in exchange the NSA pays a year-round salary and guarantees them a full-time job at the NSA when they have finally graduated.