Tag Archives: Edward Snowden

Military, Government Security Clearance Holders Vulnerable to Blackmail After Hackers Share Ashley Madison Data

How many more Aldrich Ames and Edward Snowden types are lurking among the millions of people who hold U.S. Government security clearances, vulnerable to blackmail as a result of their involvement in the AshleyMadison.com data breach?

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

If you haven’t heard of AshleyMadison (dot) com, let me offer some background information borrowed from Wired.com’s article published Tuesday:

“Ashley Madison is the most famous name in infidelity and married dating,” the site asserts on its homepage. “Have an Affair today on Ashley Madison. Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup everyday looking for an affair…. With Our affair guarantee package we guarantee you will find the perfect affair partner.”

Also in the article is news that the data breach included some 15,000 .mil or .gov addresses.

Now that you understand what’s at stake, I’ll continue.

While serving as an Air Force public affairs officer and possessing such a clearance during the last few years of the Cold War, I was regularly reminded of the types of behavior and activities that could prevent a person from obtaining or maintaining his security clearance. Atop the list of things were activities that might make you vulnerable to blackmail by a foreign agent — things such as sexually-promiscuous behavior, financial mismanagement and drug and alcohol abuse, just to name a few. And while those things may sound like everyday activities for members of Congress, those of us in uniform had higher standards. Back then.

Now, fast forward to more-recent days and the four years I spent investigating the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment” technologies, including the polygraph. During those years, I learned a lot about the system via which U.S. government personnel — especially in Defense and Intelligence positions — are vetted in advance of being granted security clearances. Truth be told, I learned more about the subjects of security clearances and background checks during my investigation than I did while in uniform. I also learned CIA employee-turned spy Ames, NSA contractor-turned Russian house guest Snowden and countless others who engaged in unauthorized dissemination of classified information — and, in many cases, blatant espionage — had had to pass periodic polygraph exams as a condition of their employment with U.S. military and intelligence agencies. And pass the polygraph exams, they did!

Even after I exposed a plethora of serious concerns associated with such practices via the May 2013 release of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, leaders of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, led by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. — continue to rely upon the century-old polygraph in the security clearance vetting process and cause me to ask, “WHY?”

The Clapper Memo offers the closest thing to an answer to that question.

Click here to learn more about the book and read some of the high-profile endorsements it has received.  Click here to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Federal Government Continues to Rely Upon Technology That Likely Enabled Mexican Drug Kingpin’s Escape

The United States government relies upon polygraph technology to prevent national security breaches. At the same time, the government of Mexico relies upon polygraph to screen out “bad apples” and thwart corruption among the ranks of its law enforcement and prison officials. One needs only look at news headlines to see how well the century-old technology has worked on both sides of the border.

To read story, click on image above.

To read story, click on image above.

Two years ago, the world learned how Edward Snowden took advantage of “truly insane” policies and defeated all of the safeguards — including multiple periodic polygraph exams — intended to prevent individuals from people like him from executing nefarious plans and damaging national security.  Over the weekend, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a billionaire drug kingpin, escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico for the second time, reportedly assisted by guards, all of whom have been subjected to polygraph exams as a condition of their employment. Combined, these two incidents prove little has changed since 2009, when the Los Angeles Times reported polygraph testing in Mexico inspires little confidence. Likewise, they prove little has changed since the release of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, in May 2013.

Based on four years of in-depth investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment technology,” The Clapper Memo, contains irrefutable proof that a better, non-polygraph technology exists to screen government agency personnel and determine whether or not they should be allowed to remain in positions of trust.

To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, non-polygraph technology, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Edward Snowden Scandal Ended Year of Living Dangerously

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two years ago this week, I shared the piece below under a similar headline as above. In light of things such as the hacking of millions of personnel records held by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, I believe it’s worth sharing again with only minor revisions. Please read and share.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

It’s been a year of living dangerously since Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. announced his plan to bring an end to the glut of national security leaks that had many questioning his performance as the nation’s top intelligence official. I use the word, dangerously, because his plan simply hasn’t worked.

Doubts about DNI Clapper’s performance have increased, some in Congress — including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — have called for his resignation or firing, and a scandal of epic proportions (a.k.a., “The Edward Snowden-National Security Agency-PRISM Scandal”) threatens to bring down the man atop the nation’s 17-agency Intelligence Community.

At the heart of the scandal, but not reported outside of these pages, is a question I raise after having conducted an exhaustive, four-year investigation into the use — and, in some cases, non-use — of polygraph and non-polygraph technologies by federal government agencies:

“How did Edward Snowden pass the polygraph exams required by his stints of employment as an intelligence professional?”

I made it clear in a headline published soon after the Snowden surfaced: Polygraph Exams Should Have Caught Edward Snowden. Of course, I should have added “If polygraph technology worked in the first place.” But I digress.

Screenshot of piece published June 18, 2013.

Screenshot of piece published June 18, 2013.

I questioned how Snowden, who had been employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency before landing at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, could have passed the necessary polygraph exams.

I shared the opinion of an expert:

Because his level of access would have required it, according to a source of mine (name withheld) who boasts almost three decades of counterintelligence work, Snowden must have taken — and passed – several polygraph exams as a condition of his multiple stints of employment with three-letter intelligence agencies and at least one government contractor,…

Plus, I shared a logical observation about Snowden, a man on the run from his government:

If, indeed, Snowden had had thoughts about exposing government secrets while employed by the CIA, the results of the polygraph exam(s) he took prior to and during his employment by that agency should have yielded clues to that could have led examiners to the truth about Snowden’s mindset. File this under, “Should have. Could have. Would have.”

Six days after publishing the polygraph-should-have-caught-Snowden piece, new observations about national security-related procedures surfaced in a Federal Times article.

Gregg Prillaman, a former Department of Homeland Security official, reportedly said that obtaining a security clearance in a post-Snowden world will likely be much tougher and take longer as a result of, among other things, the need to require more polygraph exams.

One needs only look at how well the polygraph has performed as an investigative tool to combat corruption in Mexico and to screen Afghan recruits to understand that DNI Clapper’s approach is flawed from the outset.

In my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, I share never-before-published details about the polygraph and about a “turf war” between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology that has been raging silently for more than 40 years. In addition, I share details — straight from the sources on the ground — about how both technologies have performed at Guantanamo Bay, in Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, Qatar and elsewhere around the world. Most importantly, I connect the dots between three memos — including one issued by Clapper in 2007 while he was serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence — and hundreds of American casualties resulting from “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks waged by so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their country.

There is, of course, much more to The Clapper Memo. To learn more about it, however, you’ll have to order a copy, available in paperback and ebook versions, at Amazon. Still unsure? Read the big-name endorsements.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Nation’s Top Intelligence Official Blowing Smoke When It Comes to Plan for Tightening Security Clearance Process

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.

Click on graphic above to order book.

Click on graphic above to order book.

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.

See also: Intel Boss ‘Truly Insane,’ According to Former CIA Director

To see who has endorsed the book, click here.

To read other posts about the book, click here.

To understand everything I’ve uncovered in the book, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Intel Boss ‘Truly Insane,’ According to Former CIA Director

In a McClatchy News article today, Marisa Taylor reports that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. issued a new polygraph policy Sept. 14 which requires federal government agencies conducting polygraph exams to ask applicants and employees if they have leaked classified information to the media. Doing so places him among the “truly insane,” according to one former CIA director.

Former CIA Director John Deutch quoted in New York Times 12/10/1995.

Former CIA Director John Deutch quoted in New York Times 12/10/1995.

On page 6 of a New York Times article published Dec. 10, 1995, reporter Tim Weiner quoted former CIA Director John Deutch talking about the CIA, saying, “Their reliance on the polygraph is truly insane,” and I couldn’t agree more.

What Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence official, ignores by issuing a new polygraph policy and, more importantly, by remaining joined at the hip with backers of century-old polygraph technology, is a long list of polygraph failures.

In Chapter 15 of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, I not only challenge readers to conduct their own research of convicted spies such as John Anthony Walker Jr., Jonathan Jay Pollard, Ana Belen Montes, and other U.S. government employees, but I let them know what they’ll find — that is, that the vast majority of those convicted of spying for foreign governments had been subject to regular polygraph examinations as a condition of their federal government employment. Some spied for years and years before being caught! Edward Snowden is merely the most recent example of an intelligence professional with a high-level security clearance to make reliance on the polygraph appear foolish.

Further into the same chapter, I share details about other well-known top government officials and their feelings about the polygraph.

I cite an article published Dec. 20, 1985, in the Los Angeles Times. In it, Norman Kempster reported that George Schulz, then serving as President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State, was not a fan of the polygraph and, in fact, had threatened to resign rather than submit to a polygraph examination.

I also point to an article, published in the March 8, 1994, edition of The New York Times. In it, Ronald Kessler shared details about how former CIA Director R. James Woolsey seemed to harbor the same sentiment about the polygraph:

The day after the arrest of the accused spy Aldrich H. Ames was announced, the Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey, met with several hundred C.I.A. employees in the agency’s auditorium at Langley, Virginia. After recounting what employees already knew from the news media, Mr. Woolsey — whose address was seen on closed-circuit television by every C.I.A. employee — spent five minutes explaining why he himself had refused to take a polygraph test, as other recent directors had done. Besides the fact that political appointees are not required to take such tests, Mr. Woolsey said he remained “skeptical” about the polygraph’s effectiveness.

Why does Clapper stick with this highly-suspect technology? To answer that question, I conducted a four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph. My findings appear inside The Clapper Memo, a book that has received rave reviews from several top-flight people whose names you might recognize.

To learn more about the findings of my investigation, read other posts about the book.

To understand everything I’ve uncovered, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.