In Daredevil Season 3, Ray Nadeem's boss says "You're buried in debt and that makes you a recruitment target".

It doesn't really explain what a recruitment target" means, nor what "a person deep in debt automatically becoming a recruitment target" means.

It doesn't look like this can be clarified by watching the whole episode or season.

Anyone care to clear the confusion expressed in the question?


1 Answer 1


It means that a person who has a large amount of debt is more susceptible to being bribed (a "recruitment target"). Hattley (Nadeem's boss) was saying that this is the reason why she is denying Nadeem's request for a promotion. Ray Nadeem is buried in debt due to giving financial support to his brother whose wife was diagnosed with cancer.

Real-life example: How a $230,000 debt and a LinkedIn message led an ex-CIA officer to spy for China

Kevin Mallory went years without a steady job, making him a ripe target for recruitment, court documents say.

  • 10
    To follow-up, it's a common trope for a badguy to only be bad because they desperately needs the money -- Sandman in Spiderman, say. An ordinary comics-reader is going to see "buried in dept" and think "uh-oh -- later on this guy's going to be seriously tempted by a pile of cash". Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 8:01
  • 9
    In fact the investigation process for a security clearance (at least in the US) includes an examination of your finances and spending habits, especially gambling, for exactly this reason. Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 13:58
  • 11
    @OwenReynolds not just a trope for fiction. It's a real thing. People in desperate circumstances of any stripe (debt, poverty, romance) are prone to doing things they wouldn't otherwise do.
    – Seth R
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 15:16
  • 3
    @Barmar A person who has immense amounts of debt may already be compromised. The promotion might give someone the ability to pay off their debts, but if they already have debt now, the agency can't be sure they haven't already been compromised, so promoting is riskier. With espionage, you're always on the hook because whoever compromised you now has leverage against you (exposing your treachery), so you can't "get away". From a continuity PoV, Hattley has a viable reason to decline to make Nadeem more desperate; capitalising on an existing valid reason raises no suspicions into HER motives.
    – DariM
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 1:29
  • 5
    While I never did anything with my briefly-held security clearance, my interaction with others in that company who had them, and who had experiences with intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, US military intelligence), confirms that not only are these agencies very concerned about debts, they also offer astoundingly strong support for employees with respect to things like finances, addiction, legal troubles, etc. etc., all motivated by a desire to prevent any of those things from becoming an opportunity for someone else to get leverage.
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 4:37

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