20090528 cia seal 18
A man stands on the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at the CIA headquarters in McLean, Va. - 


Kai Ryssdal: Tens of thousands of people who used to work on Wall Street have lost their jobs since the bottom fell out of the banking sector. That's tens of thousands of people who're reasonably bright, good with numbers and looking for work. If they can stomach a relatively paltry $130,000 a year salary, and oh yeah, pass a lie detector test, the CIA has some openings. Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.

STEVE HENN: This week, Bloomberg radio started running an unusual employment ad, aimed at disillusioned Wall Street types.

AD: If the quest for the bottom line is just not enough for you, the Central Intelligence Agency has a mission like no other. Join CIA's directorate of intelligence and be a part of our global mission.

Ron Patrick is a CIA recruiter. He says the work is challenging and vital.

RON Patrick: Our economic analysts are looking at counter terrorism, they're looking at counter proliferation issues, crime issues, drug issues...

And he's looking for a few top minds, even if the CIA can't pay top dollar.

PATRICK: Typically not as much as a hedge fund.

Pay ranges from $85,000 to $130,000 a year, but it beats nothing. The CIA's Wall Street recruitment drive is part of the agency's increased focus on the economy. This winter, the agency started a daily briefing for President Obama on the global impact of the economic crisis. And it's been tracking terrorist financing for years. Jimmy Gurule oversaw those kinds of investigations after 9-11.

JIMMY GURULE: The real question is -- is there a national strategy in place to deal with these types of financial issues?

Gurule says no. And the intelligence community needs to do better on everything from tracking the opium trade to anticipating more economic chaos. Some of Wall Street refugees could help. So if you just lost that sweet gig at a hedge fund...

AD: Take the next step.

Apply online at the CIA.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.