The United States intelligence services have started to recruit high school students. Teenagers that end up working for the NSA and CIA get security clearances and they have the chance of building a career before finishing high school.
Summer’s high school friends think she is monitoring their phones and listening in to theri conversations. They are speculating all kinds of things she’s doing at work and they joke that she’s a spy.
“They like to make fun of this” Summer says. Her friends have an excuse for their behavior – when the 18 years old Summer is not at school in Maryland she works for the National Security Agency in Fort Meade.
Summer is working on something “that is about cyber security”. This is what she tells people when she’s asked about what she’s doing at the NSA.
Brianna and Simon are also very discrete. They are other two high schooler students who were recruited by the NSA.
The three of them, who are 18 years old, just graduated from high school in Maryland and they are part of the 150 high school students who got an internship at the NSA. Working for the NSA gives them access to a lot of information and national secrets.
They required security clearance in order to work for the NSA, which is not something very easy to get especially since they are teenagers and, just like other teenagers, are used to share information on social networks.
One of them, Simon, says that getting the security clearance is a “golden key” that will open many doors for him in the future. “It’s an excellent opportunity” Simon says.
NSA and CIA recruiters know that when they want to hire very smart teenagers thye have to compete with high salaries paid by Silicon Valley companies. Their strategy is to recruit very young people and to impress them with the things they can do at work.
“Once they arrive here they realize the importance of the work they do every day and see that they can do things here they can’t do anywhere else” NSA recruiter Courtney says.
The NSA uses internet apps, social networks and jobs fairs to recruit high school and college students. The profile of the potential employee is something that is constantly changes, NSA officials say.