New technologies and emerging threats: personnel security adjudicative guidelines in the age of social networking
Festa, James P.
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Publicized incidents involving espionage or violence by government employees with security clearances have raised concern for the personnel security community. The guidelines used to adjudicate security clearances were last updated in 2005; since that time, significant technological developments, especially in social media and communications, have emerged. This thesis developed a comprehensive list of current Internet behaviors, and used the list to examine Internet behavior in cases of cleared government employees who have been charged with espionage or terrorism-related crimes since 2008. Cases showed a trend of increasing variety of behaviors in these cases with time. In contrast, data from the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) pertaining to proposed security clearance denials related to the Use of Information Technology Systems guideline showed a slight decrease. Incorporation of cybervetting into the background investigation process is proposed as a measure to enhance mitigation of questionable Internet behaviors, and may result in an increase in security clearance denials. Examination of the list of Internet behaviors against the current adjudicative guidelines resulted in recommended improvements for the Foreign Influence, Financial Considerations, Personal Conduct, Handling Protected Information, and Use of Information Technology Systems guidelines. Operations Security is proposed as a completely new adjudicative guideline.
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