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Obama Wants to Start Training US Spies in College

The Washington Post newspaper says the Obama administration is proposing a new program to train students in U.S. colleges and universities to become intelligence officers.

The Post report says Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has already sent a description of the program to Congress. The Post quotes Blair as saying the idea is to prepare first-and second-generation Americans, who already have critical language skills and cultural knowledge, for careers in intelligence agencies.

The program aims to cultivate qualified recruits who can work the streets of the Middle East and South Asia to penetrate terrorist groups and criminal enterprises.

Under the proposal, the Post says schools would apply for grants to create or expand courses that would provide the background needed for intelligence work. These would include classes in foreign languages, analysis and scientific and technical fields.

Students would apply to the national intelligence director to get into the program and would also go through a selection process for financial assistance.

The idea is similar to a curriculum already in place for the military services, known as the Reserve Officers' Training Corps or ROTC.

The Post credits an unnamed official as saying the students' participation in the intelligence program would likely be kept secret to prevent foreign intelligence services from identifying them.