- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2003

TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) — Help-wanted newspaper advertisements bought by the CIA have resulted a big response by job seekers in Tampa and four other cities.

So far the inquiries have doubled the normal rate.

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said the agency is seeking spies, intelligence analysts and other candidates for language-related positions. He said salaries begin in the $40,000 range.

Ads were placed in The Tampa Tribune, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit News and Free Press.

The ad reads: "For over 100 years, Arab-Americans have served the nation. Today we need you more than ever." It is illustrated by a picture of the Statue of Liberty.

Mansfield said the drive for Arab-American operatives and analysts was generated by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the response has been encouraging.

"The response thus far has been very encouraging," Mansfield said Wednesday. "Since the ad has been running, well over 250 resumes from people claiming knowledge of Arabic, and of those about half have been claiming native language capability.

"We hope we will reach qualified people who might not have considered a career at the agency," he said.

Some congressmen criticized the CIA for what they said were intelligence failures in the days leading up to the terrorist attacks. Most of the hijackers were Saudi Arabians.

Mohammed Sultan, director of the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area Mosque, said the crackdown on Muslims since the attacks have made CIA recruiting a touchy subject.

"It's a sensitive issue our community is going through right now, and our phones are tapped and they are listening to us, so I'd decline comment about the CIA," Sultan told the Tampa Tribune.

Mansfield said Tampa was chosen for its large Arab population.

Arabs comprise less than 1 percent of Florida's population at 78,254. More than 12,0000- — about 15 percent — of the state's Arabs live in the Tampa Bay area.

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