Spy Agencies May Need More Economists

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Attention, international economists: If the bond market's collapse has left you out in the cold, think about intelligence work.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency recently began producing a daily Economic Intelligence Brief for top economic policy makers in the Obama administration. That follows a surprise elevation of foreign economic concerns within last month's Worldwide Threat Assessment briefing, an annual report to Congress by Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence. "The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications," Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12.

"Blair told his new staff that he wanted to do more than list his concerns about the economic crisis - he wanted to open his presentation with them," Newsweek reports. That shift raised eyebrows because it was the first time in several years that terrorism wasn't cited as the main threat to U.S. interests.

Officials at the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies are pondering such issues as whether the spreading world economic crisis might destabilize Russia (or conversely, magnify its power), China or India, heighten anti-American views or spark trade protectionism that could make matters worse. Central and Eastern Europe is of special concern: The collapse of financial markets is blamed for the recent ouster of Latvia's prime minister, Newsweek notes.

It's a good bet economic analysts with overseas experience and/or advanced foreign language skills will find a warm welcome at the CIA. Its recruiting site is at https://www.cia.gov/careers/index.html.

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