US Network To Scan Workers With Secret Clearances


US intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials said.

The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, and draws on a Defense Department model under development for more than a decade, according to officials and documents reviewed by the AP. An administration review of the government's security clearance process is expected to support continuous monitoring as part of a package of comprehensive changes. Privacy advocates and government employee union officials expressed concerns that continuous electronic monitoring could intrude into individuals' private lives, prompt flawed investigations and put sensitive personal data at greater risk.

Supporters say the system would have safeguards. Workers with secret clearances are already required to undergo background checks of their finances and private lives before they are hired and again during periodic re-investigations. "What we need is a system of continuous evaluation where when someone is in the system and they're cleared initially, then we have a way of monitoring their behavior, both their electronic behavior on the job as well as off the job," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress. Current and former officials familiar with the DNI's planning said the monitoring system will collect records from multiple sources of information about employees. They will use private credit agencies, law enforcement databases and threat lists, military and other government records, licenses, data services and public record repositories.

The proposed system would mimic monitoring systems already in use by the airline and banking industries, but it most closely draws from a 10-year-old Pentagon research project known as the Automated Continuous Evaluation System, officials said. The ACES program, designed by researchers from the Monterey (CA), -- based Defense Personnel and Security Research Center and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, has passed several pilot tests but is not yet in full operation. The ACES project and clearance-related Defense Department research cost more than $84 million over the past decade, documents show.

[March 10]

US Network To Scan Workers With Secret Clearances US officials reportedly plan system to monitor behavior of workers with security clearances (Fox News)