NSA plans minority upgrading ANNE ARUNDEL

September 03, 1993|By Peter Hermann and John A. Morris | Peter Hermann and John A. Morris,Staff Writers Staff writer Tom Bowman contributed to this article.

The National Security Agency outlined plans yesterday to improve its record in minority hiring and promotions during a closed-door meeting in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Maryland Democrat, described the meeting as "productive," but would not release details of the plans.

The afternoon meeting of four NSA officials, Senator Mikulski's aides and other congressional staff representatives stemmed from published reports of a July memo in which top NSA officials acknowledged that the agency "lags behind" the rest of the federal government in hiring practices.

Black workers at the NSA have complained that they routinely are bypassed for promotions.

The agency's own statistics show that only 2.45 percent of employees at the highest pay grades are African-Americans, about half the rate for the federal government as a whole.

"The numbers really speak for themselves," said a black intelligence analyst who has worked at the agency since the late 1960s and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. "Management says they're trying to do something to change it. It's lip service.

"There's a problem out there and somebody has to look into this."

"They obviously have a long way to go," said Fred Rasheed, national director of economic development for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"How do you expect the private sector to increase its representation if it's not being done by the agencies?"

During yesterday's meeting, the "NSA people came in and said, look at all the things we have done" to correct the problem, said a congressional staff member who attended the meeting. We said 'now prove it,' and we sent them away to get p documentation."

NSA has a work force of between 38,000 and 52,000, making it the single largest employer in the state.

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