New Concerns About Government Security Background Checks

Thu, July 18th, 2013 - 1:18 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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There are something like three million Americans with high level security clearance.   That’s a lot of people who are privy to sensitive information.   Small wonder there are leaks and the more egregious breaches as evidenced by Edward Snowden.   Such leaks are embarrassing, and they are very costly both in security and financially.

Any person applying for security clearance is supposed to undergo a background check.  Fair enough.  But now the question is how thorough are these background checks?  With the government overwhelmed, security agencies are assigning background checks to the private sector.  Are they really doing their job or are they giving it short thrift?   Some investigators, it has been alleged, were making up the answers to the questions as they went along, rather than undergo the more tedious legwork.   Not good.

This Washington Post Article, NSA Leaks Raise Concerns About Reliability of  Government Sensitive Background System, is well worth the read.    On one level the article examines the flaws in the system and the possible vagaries found in the background checks.  The article questions the effectiveness of these background reports and the means by which they are being conducted.

On a larger scale one has to wonder how can any national manage over three million people with high level security clearances?  And then the issue of privatization of our national security–what are the pitfalls long and short term?


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