Unauthorized disclosure: can behavioral indicators help predict who will commit unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information?
Sims, Karen Elizabeth
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Federal government security-cleared personnel have been disclosing federal government classified national security information, whether to a foreign government or the United States media, at an increasing rate since the 1980s. Can common personal or psychological characteristics or motivations be identified from historical cases that could indicate the likelihood of a current or potential federal employee to disclose national security information without authorization? Reasons for unauthorized disclosure range from financial, to whistle-blowing, to a desire to change international policy, to sympathy and strong ties with a foreign government. The focus of this research is on the behavioral characteristics that are similar or different between known, studied historical cases of personnel associated with the federal government who have disclosed classified information without authorization. Upon review of existing data, the prevalent behavioral characteristic of the cases is one of a disgruntled employee (ideology/disillusionment/loyalty). A disgruntled employee becomes the largest concern as an insider threat, one who is willing to compromise his or her feelings of loyalty to the organization and the nation for a myriad of reasons.
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