The Washington Post

McLEAN, VA — The U.S. is its own worst enemy when it comes to the desperately important task of recruiting immigrants as spies, analysts and translators in the war on terror, new Americans are telling intelligence officials. The government’s policies raise suspicions and fear in the immigrants’ home countries and disturb potential recruits here who might otherwise want to help.

The U.S. knows it needs the help. At the heart of a Friday summit with immigrant groups was a stark reality: The intelligence agencies lack people who can speak the languages that are needed most, such as Arabic, Farsi and Pashtu. More importantly, the agencies lack people with the cultural awareness that enables them to grasp the nuances embedded in dialect, body language and even street graffiti.

At the suburban Virginia summit, not far from the CIA and National Counterterrorism Center, officials gathered more than a dozen representatives of recent immigrant and other ethnic groups to get their recruiting assistance.

“We are going to ask you to open up your communities to us,” said Ronald Sanders, an assistant national intelligence director, and the son of an Egyptian immigrant mother.

The officials got an earful in return _ about immigration and hiring rules and foreign policies that make life harder in immigrants’ old countries. The intelligence agencies’ own practices also came under criticism: extraordinary rendition, holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, harsh interrogation practices that some say amount to torture.

“Basically they’ve scared people,” said Amina Khan, of the Association of Pakistani Professionals and an attorney formerly with the U.S. Energy Department.

Immigrants “have always seen and regarded the United States as a law-abiding country,” Khan said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Now we are the only superpower in the entire world. For us, when we hear things like renditions or Guantanamo Bay, which for many is considered outside the letter of the law, there is an element of fear.”

Many immigrants come to the United States already fearing the intelligence agencies of their home countries.

A man named Aung, from Myanmar, said his countrymen in the United States are spied on by Myanmar agents.

“Basically by attending this conference I myself am on the list,” he said. It will complicate his visits home to see his father, he said, asking that his full name not be used.

“In our culture it is looked down on to be a … spy,” added Humira Noorestani, whose family is from Afghanistan.

Some U.S. policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks made things worse, said Kareem Shora, of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

4 Responses to “Intelligence Agencies Seek Help Recruiting New Immigrants”
  1. joNo Gravatar says:

    the agencies lack people with the cultural awareness that enables them to grasp the nuances embedded in dialect, body language and even street graffiti.

    this one quote alone shows the dangers of allowing big groups of people from anywhere into this country. it also shows that the gov’t is aware and that by it’s very action of leaving our borders open endangers the lives of all of us. they also by this statement acknowledge that when you have people speaking other languages it is very dangerous, for it is like communicating in code ,which is always done in war. what the F do the people need to wake up. apparently ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

  2. melodyNo Gravatar says:

    the agencies lack people with the cultural awareness that enables them to grasp the nuances embedded in dialect, body language and even street graffiti.

    That’s the scary thing about studying a foreign language. You can think they mean one thing and they really mean another and get into a lot of trouble.

    Never stops amazing me how I will think somebody speaks English then something weird happens and I’m not so sure. They know how to ask where the bathroom is and stuff like that, but vary your talk from the English slang books they have been studying and so many are lost.

    This why so many can’t stand people with English accents and dialect they are not used to. Some can really make fun of “hillbillies”. They use different words for different stuff and wow the immigrants can really get frustrated. I guess their attitude is, “Oh, no, I got more words and phrases to learn.”

  3. joNo Gravatar says:

    they are not bothering to learn anything. we are invisible atm machines to them. no need to try and communicate, after all WE provide THEM with interpeters, that way they don’t have to worry about making mistakes. makes the process work better for them. the interpeter cleans sh*t up for them and supplies the RIGHT answers.
    the gov’t wants that they not learn english so that when it eventually comes down on their a$$es, they REALLY won’t understand. it is ALL in the plan, my friends.
    can’t help but admire the traitors’ commitment to detail.

  4. melodyNo Gravatar says:

    It could be when the invaders least expect it they will be tricked by the U.S. government bigtime. They are becoming a bit too dependent and trusting of their interpreters, aren’t they.

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