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Wanted: Wall Streeters for Clandestine Operations


The CIA's looking for a few good men. Money men.

Wall Streeters, tired of a steady diet of yachts, bottle service, and zillions of dollars, can try their hand at spooking for the CIA.

It might be just the thing for brokers and analysts caught in the market downdraft and facing the possibility of a pink slip.

The super-spook agency now runs ads on Bloomberg Radio, hoping to snare investment bankers, hedge-fund managers and other wizards willing to focus their brain power "for the work of the nation," the New York Post (better known as the Poopsheet of Record) reports.

The listing under "clandestine service" on the CIA's website could have been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter on a 3-week bender:

"The CIA's Clandestine Service is the cutting-edge of American Intelligence. It is an elite corps, providing vital information needed by US policymakers, the military and law enforcement services to protect the national security interests of the American people. For the extraordinary person who wants more than just a job, the Clandestine Service offers a unique career - a way of life that challenges the deepest resources of an individual's intelligence, self-reliance and responsibility."

This isn't the first time the nation's intelligence services looked to Wall Street for talent. William "Wild Bill" Donovan was a Wall Street lawyer tapped by President Roosevelt to lead the Office of Strategic Services - the forerunner of today's Central Intelligence Agency.

Donovan set up shop in Rockefeller Center and set about cracking codes, gathering intelligence and organizing saboteurs in occupied nations. His reward: After the war, critics said he had established an "American Gestapo."

The starting salary for today's Wall Street spies is $160,000 - a monstrous pay cut for former Masters of the Universe, but probably enough to keep them from defecting to General Motors (GM), or worse, Chrysler.

Despite the obvious yuks, this is serious business. The CIA needs to know where terrorists are stashing their cash and how it's moved around the world to prevent future attacks. Following the money would lead the smart spy straight to those planning to spend it on mayhem.

Luckily, the CIA is smart enough to know that no one in Washington knows anything about money except how to print and spend it, and therefore, turns to New York -- (former) financial capital of the world -- for expertise.

However, this project is a little odd, considering President Obama has cast Wall Street honchos as the bad guys responsible for the financial collapse, starving children, and so it seems, dogs with fleas. But what the heck - Goldman Sachs (GS) has produced a couple of Treasury Secretaries lately. And if the CIA's intelligence turns sour, Wall Street is the whipping-boy in waiting.

But if things go well, there might be an IPO in this somewhere. Before you scoff at the current state of the new-issues market, remember that the CIA's IPO would be backed by the full faith and credit of Uncle Sam's printing presses. Nothing but upside - as long as you don't expect the deal to be the next Google (GOOG).
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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