Tags: Pentagon | Lax | Security | Checks

Pentagon Lax on Security Checks

Tuesday, 22 May 2001 12:00 AM

One of those applicants owed $98,000 to credit card companies and had a history of bankruptcy, clearly noted on a credit check, but that information was not accounted for on his security clearance, according to the report.

Eight military security agencies spend about $25 million a year to review around 200,000 applications and generally approve 98 percent of them. But the GAO says a yearlong investigation into the process reveals major problems with the documentation of potential security issues on applicants, such as a history of bankruptcy, excessive debt, unexplained affluence and close foreign contacts.

GAO reviewed 404 randomly selected applications for top-secret clearance and extrapolated its findings to apply to the 3,800 applications for such clearances every year.

GAO investigators disputed Pentagon reviewing agencies' findings in 40 percent of the cases - 33 percent of the security reviews failed to note potential security problems revealed by investigations and credit checks. Another 7 percent included derogatory information for which there was no supporting evidence.

Most of the undocumented problems relate to finances; 12 percent had major credit debt, unexplained funding streams and a history of defaulting on creditors. Money is often a major contributor to espionage cases.

About 10 percent failed to disclose prior arrests during their security checks, a factor which speaks to the applicant's honesty, according to the military.

Ten percent had significant contact with foreigners through marriage, close relatives or foreign travel. Those relationships could be used against a person with top-secret clearance by a foreign government, either through blackmail or coercion, according to the report.

In 16 percent of the cases reviewed by GAO, military security analysts approved top secret applications despite the presence of "significant adverse information" for which no mitigating factors were offered, such as the loss of a job leading to financial problems.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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One of those applicants owed $98,000 to credit card companies and had a history of bankruptcy, clearly noted on a credit check, but that information was not accounted for on his security clearance, according to the report. Eight military security agencies spend about $25...
Pentagon,Lax,Security,Checks
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2001-00-22
Tuesday, 22 May 2001 12:00 AM
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