One of the people Mediapart interviewed served as the director of Department 3000’s research section until the civil war began. He was recruited out of high school due to his high marks in science in general and chemistry in particular. He was then sent to college and graduate school, first in Syria and then in the West, while also attending army courses meant to increase his motivation to produce large quantities of chemical weapons.So far as I understand, scientists that work in the United States defense industries are not usually pre-selected from high school, although I am sure there are various defense-oriented internships that are used as long-term recruiting tools. It'd be interesting to know what other countries do for scientists in similar positions; something tells me that they don't start in high school.
(Also, I wonder when this fellow came to the West and what he told his grad school colleagues what his long-term job would be?)