WASHINGTON -- FBI Director James Comey gave a tongue-in-cheek endorsement to ABC's "Quantico," a new show about FBI agents, joking that the bureau portrayed on television is a lot less white and male than it is in real life.
"At least in that show we look attractive and diverse," Comey joked.
Quantico, which premiered this week on ABC, stars Indian film actress and singer Priyanka Chopra as Alex Parrish. The show has been praised for its diversity, and includes another character who Chopra described as a "gun-wielding, badass, hijab-wearing law-enforcement woman."
The real FBI has struggled to recruit minority agents, and statistics show that the already low percentage of African-American agents has slipped in recent years. Comey said after a speech on race and policing earlier this year that the FBI was "overwhelmingly white and male" and that he has to "change the numbers.”
The FBI is struggling to compete with the private sector when it comes to recruiting and hiring tech-savvy personnel, according to a report from the Justice Department Inspector General released a few months ago. The private sector can offer higher salaries, a less intense background check process, and, unlike the FBI, most companies don't eliminate candidates just because they smoked marijuana sometime within the past three years.
"It's hard," Comey said about recruiting technologically skilled employees. "The pitch we make is the mission. Adjunct to that, not only is the mission really, really cool, the nature of the responsiblity you will be able to get by virtue of how much work we have, you'll get there faster than you might in the private sector. But it's hard."
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