Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fifty-Seven is Not Over the Hill

The other night I had the privilege of attending a retirement party for a really great guy -- one of the most upstanding people I know -- who just left the FBI after a thirty-year career. It was a wonderful night, but I'm ashamed to admit that I learned something at that party, for the first time, that I didn't know before -- and which I think is utterly absurd.

What I learned was that there is a mandatory retirement age for FBI special agents. Fifty-seven years old! Sometimes, I'm told, the FBI will extend that to the ripe old age of sixty under special circumstances.

I have to tell you, learning that FBI special agents are immediately forced to the rocking chair -- or, more commonly, nice jobs in private industry -- at that age did not make me feel any safer concerning either terrorism or white collar crime. While I'm not personally familiar with the FBI's efforts against the former, I do know that its work against securities fraud and organized crime has been extraordinarily effective, and that it has agents who have built up an enormous amount of experience.

Seems to me the FBI should go out of its way to keep those people, and not toss them out at fifty-seven.

Anyway, I just thought I'd get that off my chest. It just strikes me as a sad waste of experienced manpower.


Wall Street Versus America will be published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.


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