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A story by Dan Eggen in this morning’s Washington Post notes that the FBI has abandoned its time-worn policy of automatically disqualifying job applicants who have used drugs. According to the Post:

Old guidelines barred FBI employment to anyone who had used marijuana more than 15 times in their lives or who had tried other illegal narcotics more than five times.

But those strict numbers no longer apply. Applicants for jobs such as analysts, programmers or special agents must still swear that they have not used any illegal substances recently — three years for marijuana and 10 years for other drugs — but they are no longer ruled out of consideration because of more frequent drug use in the past…

FBI officials say the move is simply an acknowledgment of reality in a country where, according to some estimates, up to a third of the population has tried marijuana at some point.

Even with its relaxed standards, the FBI remains tougher on former drug users than other federal agencies, most notably the CIA. Those wishing to work for “the Company” are evaluated holistically, “with any history of illegal drug use being one factor considered in a careful assessment process,” according to CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano.

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