I got more than I bargained for when I read the Federal News Radio article, Social media could become part of security clearance process. I learned that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. is moving forward with a system of continuous evaluation of security clearance holders and has no plans to forgo current tools, including interviews, polygraphs and reference checks.
That news was delivered by National Counterintelligence Executive Bill Evanina, the policies expert inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, during a recent interview with FNR’s Emily Kopp. But that wasn’t all he shared.
According to the article, he said he expects DNI Clapper to launch the continuous evaluation system early next year, starting with top-secret clearance holders and eventually involving all five million clearance holders.
I can’t wait to see if DNI Clapper can pull it off, because the numbers, as I reported in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, are against him.
According to a DoD report I cite in the book, polygraph examiners throughout the entire federal government conducted approximately 8,000 polygraph exams between Oct. 1, 1999, and Sept. 30, 2000. Then, almost one year later, the history-changing attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took place. During the 10 years that followed those attacks, the number of polygraph exams conducted within the federal government skyrocketed. According to an Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) report I cite in the book, DoD polygraph examiners alone conducted more than 43,000 polygraph exams during the 12-month period ending April 30, 2011.
It took DNI Clapper’s folks ten years to ramp up their polygraph program from 8,000 to 43,000 annual exams. How he expects to ramp up to five million exams is beyond anyone’s comprehension. And how he expects to achieve worthwhile results with the polygraph, the same century-old technology that convicted spies such as John Anthony Walker Jr., Jonathan Jay Pollard, Ana Belen Montes, and other U.S. government employees subject to periodic polygraph exams as conditions of their employment to get away with their crimes. Some spied for years and years before being caught! And don’t forget Edward Snowden, the most recent example of an intelligence professional with a high-level security clearance to make reliance on the polygraph appear foolish.
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