Wanted: One anti-terrorist expert. Must be multi-lingual and willing to relocate to Washington

U.S. security is being undermined due to a shortage of intelligence officials who speak foreign languages.

The New York Times reports that there is a serious lack of law enforcement officials in the U.S. who speak foreign languages, and this is undermining national security.

Clues to crimes such as the blowing up of the World Trade Centre are out in the open – if only there was someone who spoke Arabic. Before the bombing, the FBI had tapes of two terrorists speaking in Arabic about how to build the bomb. They also had videotapes, manuals and notebooks containing information on bomb-making – again, in Arabic.

If the FBI had had an Arabic-speaking anti-terrorist expert on staff, that bombing, which killed six people and injured more than a thousand, might have been avoided.

The crisis stems from a combination of a lack of funding to hire linguists, a greater reliance on English as a primary language, and increased terrorism. Often, people who speak the lesser-known languages which are required, have trouble getting security clearance to work for U.S. intelligence agencies.

The FBI must translate a million pages of intercepted conversations a year and faces an increasing backlog.
Among the most wanted languages: Arabic, Korean and Macedonian.

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