Skilled Romanians at CIA and NSA

Excerpts from New York Times article “Enough Keywords Searches. Just Answer My Question.” by James Fallows

June 12, 2005

One branch of the federal government is desperate enough for a better search tool that its efforts could be a stimulus for fundamental long-term improvements. Last week, I spent a day at a workshop near Washington for the Aquaint project, whose work is unclassified but has gone virtually unnoticed in the news media. The name stands for “advanced question answering for intelligence,” and refers to a joint effort by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and other federal intelligence organizations . . . .

As the briefings went on last week, I began to notice that they were not just being delivered in American-accented English. The first project was introduced by a man born in Romania. The second by a native Pole. The third by a scientist who had emigrated from Russia. The fourth by one from Greece. The fifth presenter was from New Zealand, the sixth was another Romanian . . .

Several of the foreign-born scientists told me afterward that their counterparts at home would have a much harder time following their example, because of the post 9/11 visa restrictions to keep America “safe.”