The United States may have indicted a group of Chinese army officials for cyber-espionage, but the FBI has a problem of its own: weed.

The bureau is struggling to hire young hackers because its long-standing drug policy does not allow the use of cannabis. Unfortunately, hackers like their weed.

"I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," FBI Director James B. Comey told a White Collar Crime Institute conference on Monday.

Theoretically, the bureau's hiring policy states that applicants cannot use cannabis for at least three years before applying for a job.


But with 2,000 positions to fill this year, the FBI may have to relax its no-drugs policy if it wants to win the cyber war.

Asked by a member of the audience if his stoner friend could apply for a job at the bureau, Mr Comey suggested he "should go ahead and apply".

On Monday, the US laid criminal charges on five Chinese military officials accused of masterminding government-led cyber hacking to steal trade secrets from six major American companies.