Security Clearance Jobs

Digital Privacy Advocates and Security Clearances

In an era of Wikileaks and open data advocates, is it time to revamp the Standard Form-86 security clearance questionnaire?

In an interview with the Federal Drive, ClearanceJobs founder and Managing Director Evan Lesser noted that perhaps its time to look at updating the questions asked in the clearance process.

“I think it’s pretty clear now that some new questions on the standard forms and in the investigations for clearance regarding use and misuse of technology systems, thoughts on openness of information on the Web, political leanings,  and the applicant’s thoughts on privacy and secrecy, may need to be added or existing questions tweaked,” Lesser said.

Most investigators probably agree too many questions would be both a political and a practical nightmare – but if you could add or subtract from the current form, what would it be? What questions would help root out likely leakers, and which are burdening investigators without adding to national security?


Comment Archive

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    What exactly does Lesser mean by “political leanings”? This could be interpreted in a lot of different ways.

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    Ask about their political leanings?

    Are you f-ing kidding me? No way. No how. I’ll quit before I get into that nightmare.

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    I don’t think you need to ask political leanings. That stuff can be ascertained by websites visited and tv/radio listening patterns. It is 2013. I say you do brain scanning while showing images of certain people, places, and objects and see how the brain responds– positive/negative emotion. You could involve both visual and auditory parts of the brain at the same time to see the response in different parts of the brain. Flash a picture of Edward Snowden and play chants of “Allahu Ahkbar!”

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    I purchased a book written in 1956 called “The FBI Story” written by Don Whitehead, at a used book store. In one of the chapters the author lists the actual interview questions the FBI agents asked to those applying for federal and military clearances. At that time the FBI conducted the investigations which were then adjudicated by the Civil Service Commission (now USOPM). Upon reading the list of questions, I had to laugh. The questions that agents asked in the 1950’s when the threat of communism was at its height are almost exactly worded as the same questions agents ask today. It is no surprise failures to our national security happe. The world has changed, it is time the feds did too.

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    Have a question for you guys… As an Investigator, are you allowed to work for two contractors at the same time? I know you can as an independent contractor, but as an employee? It may sound kind of dumb, but looking for your thoughts on here. Thanks.

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      Yes you can as a contractor

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        Only as a contractor

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    Hey! There’s another Fed Investigator on here, I never purchased any books!


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    How do we know it’s really you. Prove you didn’t purchase any books. I’m on to your game 🙂

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    BW, I’m a lazy, worthless gold badge, of course I don’t read!

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    […] In the wake of scandals such as the Snowden debacle, everyone looks for someone to blame. Current sequestration budget cuts are also causing another look at the financial benefits of government employees versus contractors. The realization that someone with a security clearance had both access he perhaps shouldn’t have as well as questionable judgment calls the process that cleared him into question. […]

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    The process is flawed. As an investi, contractor, I get some crazy cases assigned. Why are these folks even getting considered and wasting time and govt $? Felonies, 20 delinquent debts, multiple firings, mental health problems…sometimes all the same individuals mind you…you’d think that record would be enough to flat out deny someone a clearance?! The process is based on the premise that if you discuss these issues, despite repeated patterns of behavior, somehow the person is cleared and good to go. On the other hand are the folks who are good on paper but have real deceptive and evasive behavior…those folks are ok too because, hey, their paperwork and the requirements of the case are all met. And then adjudicators, who have never met the subject, make a decision, while the investigator, who has the only real face time w/the person, is not allowed to voice their perceptions (I guess for fear of personal bias..). I’ve learned how to get my 2 cents in (you investis know what I mean) but who knows if they listen to it. I have cases where the subjects, who have multiple issues, are already working at their new job before their cases were transmitted! What’s wrong with that picture?!

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    […] we’ve pointed out in the past, the clearance process could probably use an overhaul – some post Cold-War updates to the […]