Tags: Edward Snowden | NSA/Surveillance | john hamre | security | clearances | system | obsolete

Ex-DOD Official: 'Obsolete' Security System Means 'We Have Spies in Our Midst'

Image: Ex-DOD Official: 'Obsolete' Security System Means 'We Have Spies in Our Midst'
John Hamre (Getty Images) 

By    |   Friday, 06 Nov 2015 09:52 PM

The Obama administration's process for granting U.S. security clearances is obsolete "and we have spies in our midst" similar to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, a former Defense Department official has told CBS News.

"I'm convinced of it," former Defense Deputy Secretary John Hamre told Scott Pelly in a "60 Minutes" interview to be broadcast on Sunday. "Our system is very obsolete."

The system granted Snowden, as well as convicted spy Chelsea Manning and mass murderer Aaron Alexis, top-secret clearances and access to a vast array of intelligence information and secrets, Hamre said.

The process falls under the Office of Personnel Management.

Hamre, who also chairs the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon, said the basic problem stems from a form that applicants fill out themselves on which they can lie and not get caught.

Alexis, who killed 12 co-workers at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013, lied about a felony arrest for releasing air from of someone's tire. He also did not mention that he had done it with a gun in a "black-out fueled by anger."

Snowden worked for the CIA and left there under circumstances that moved the agency to put a red flag in his personnel file, according to the report.

But when his security clearance was later reviewed, after becoming an NSA contractor, he said that his past employment was "classified" and the clearance investigator did not check with the CIA.

Snowden "moved into an enormously sensitive position," Hamre said. "We control people at the gate — and once we give them a credential, they're in the compound, we don't pay attention to where they are after that.

"So, our big elaborate, expensive system didn't prevent something that was truly important."

"60 Minutes" also obtained a memo written by the OPM’s Inspector General Patrick McFarland after the Snowden disclosures of the classified NSA documents in 2013.

McFarland concluded that Snowden's background investigation was "deficient in a number of areas" and that "OPM itself did not identify that the report had glaring deficiencies."

"There may well be systemic problems," McFarland's report said.

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The Obama administration's process for granting U.S. security clearances is obsolete "and we have spies in our midst" similar to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, a former Defense Department official has told CBS News.
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2015-52-06
Friday, 06 Nov 2015 09:52 PM
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