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America's spy agencies are struggling to recruit young people who don't like surveillance, do like pot

The next generation of American spies may be difficult to find, said James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, on Wednesday. The trouble is twofold.

First, young Americans aren't exactly keen on mass surveillance. "We need to attract new people, new young people, to the intelligence community," Clapper said, but "they're going to say, 'You know, there's too much Big Brother. There's too much invasiveness and intrusiveness in my life, so I don't think I'm going to work here.' I worry about that."

Second, as FBI Director James Comey has complained, young Americans do like marijuana, for which intelligence agencies have little tolerance. "I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," Comey said in 2014. Any recent marijuana use, even in states where recreational or medicinal consumption is legal, runs afoul of hiring practices at the FBI as well as the CIA, a policy that shrinks the recruiting pool considerably in an age when 4 in 10 Americans will cop to trying pot.