Buzzkill: FBI director says he was joking about hiring weed-smoking hackers


marijuana-170Sorry marijuana fans, the FBI won’t be recruiting cyber-sleuthing stoners any time soon.

FBI Director James Comey says he was being “funny” when he made a comment that the FBI should consider loosening drug policies for applicants to its cyber crime division.

What Comey was really trying to say, he clarified yesterday, is that a generation of potential cyber crime fighters is increasingly made up of dope-smoking hackers, which makes recruitment pretty challenging if you weed out all those recruits (sorry, pun intended).

Comey said at a white collar crime conference this week in New York that a lot of hackers who could potentially work for the FBI are pot smoking kids who “want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”

After the comment was published in the Wall Street Journal on 20 May, Comey’s remark went viral – could it be an opening for pot legalization? America’s top cop says pot is OK? Really?

Well, US Senator Jeff Sessions put the lid on that idea right away.

Sessions, an Alabama Republican, was not amused by Comey’s remarks, telling Comey the comment would “undermine” efforts to combat drug use among young people.

“I was very disappointed,” Sessions told Comey, adding that the comment appeared to “make light” of marijuana use.

Sessions said it would undermine the efforts of law makers to discourage marijuana use:

Do you understand that that could be interpreted as one more example of leadership in America dismissing the seriousness of marijuana use? And that could undermine our ability to convince young people not to go down a dangerous path?

In his defense, Comey said he was trying to be “funny and serious” at the same time.

“I am determined not to lose my sense of humor,” Comey said in response. “But unfortunately there I was trying to be both funny and serious.”

He is still “dead set” against marijuana use, he said.

I waxed philosophic and funny to say, look, one of our challenges that we face is getting a good workforce at the same time when young people's attitudes about marijuana and our states' attitudes about marijuana are leading more and more of them to try it.

I am absolutely dead set against using marijuana. I don't want young people to use marijuana. It's against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana. I did not say that I'm going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce.

US law enforcement’s official position is still “no smoking.”

As it is today, the FBI bans applicants from having used marijuana for the past three years (so smoking weed in the past is not a complete disqualifier).

But, maybe, if the FBI continues to have a hard time recruiting suitable applicants, the topic will come up again.

What do you think? Is it a good idea or bad idea for the FBI to hire hackers who have smoked pot?

Let us know in the comments.

Image of marijuana leaf courtesy of Shutterstock.