The Security Policy Forum (SPF/Forum) was convened at 1000 hours on 26 January 1996 by the Cochairs, Mr. Keith Hall, Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs, and Ms. Joan Dempsey, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Intelligence and Security).
All SPF member departments and agencies were represented with the exception of the Office of Management and Budget. Observers included Defense Investigative Service (DIS), Department of Agriculture and the industry Forum focal point.
Mr. Hall welcomed all the attendees. Before turning the meeting over to Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Hall underlined the impact of allocating resources to the front end of an initial security clearance investigation at the expense of the periodic reinvestigation phase. He noted the lack of resources applied to the periodic reinvestigations. He stated he is positive if we set high standards for the initial SSBI, we take away resources for the periodic reinvestigation. Having completed his remarks, Mr. Hall turned the meeting over to Mr. Jacobson, Deputy Director of the SPB Staff. Mr. Jacobson noted one change to the 15 December 1995 minutes submitted by DIS. With no other recommended changes or corrections, he called for acceptance to the 15 December 1995 minutes. The Forum members approved the minutes without further correction.
Mr. Harris, SPB Staff, began the discussion by noting that temporary eligibility for access as defined by Executive Order (E.O.) 12968 applied to people whose positions require a higher clearance but whose investigations are incomplete. The E.O. requires the Security Policy Board to develop minimum investigative standards for temporary eligibility. The Personnel Security Committee (PSC) has prepared a draft and endorsed it without dissent.
Mr. Eugene White, Air Force, asked if the investigative standards provided agency discretion as to the proper adjudicative authority for temporary access. Mr. Harris responded that an agency or department may establish agency specific requirements based on the sensitivity of the mission or the classified information to be disclosed. Temporary eligibility for access is valid only at the agency granting it, although other agencies may agree to recognize an individual's temporary access if they choose.
Mr. Jerry Schroeder, Department of Justice, raised two concerns:
1. The language in paragraph 5 of the draft is confusing, because it could be read as applying to section 2.3 of the E.O., although investigative standards for temporary eligibility apply only to paragraph 3.3. Mr. Ron Seidman, US Coast Guard, agreed that the language was confusing.
2. The E.O. requires an expedited investigation whenever temporary eligibility is granted; paragraphs 4 and 6 of the draft require expedltlng, but paragraph 5 does not.
It was noted that an "expedited" SSBI from OPM costs an additional $750.00.
Mr. John Crandall, Ofice of Personnel Management (OPM), stated that "expedited is a term of art used by OPM, meaning an SSBI that the requester must complete in 35 days or fewer. He noted, however, that there should be a simple path around this question of definitions, since it was not the E.O.'s intent to require a specific OPM product.
To the question of whether "expedited in the E.O. meant "fewer than 180 days," Mr. Schroeder stated that the 180 days only applies to section 2.3 of the Order and refers to the amount of time a person already having access at one level can, under certain circumstances, be granted access to a higher level for a specific, nonrecurring purpose.
Mr. Hall agreed that the 180 days does not apply to section 3.3 of the E.O. and is not relevant to the discussion.
Mr. Schroeder underscored that section 2.3 speaks about "temporary access" while section 3.3 addresses "temporary eligibility for access," and reiterated that only the latter concerns us here.
Mr. Harris noted that the PSC concluded the situation described in paragraph 5-- a person with, for example, access to SECRET being moved to a position requiring TOP SECRET-- does not warrant an expedited ("expedited" in the sense OPM uses it) investigation, because the key elements for granting the temporary eligibility will have already been completed in the investigation conducted for granting the SECRET access.
Mr. Harris suggested adding language to the first paragraph of the draft to state explicitly that it addresses only section 3.3 of the E.O.
ACTION: Mr. Hall requested that Messrs. Schroeder, and Harris work off line to modify the language. He further requested the SPB Staff to send a copy of the modified language to the Forum membership prior to the Security Policy Board (Board) meeting. Revised language is provided at Attachment A.
-- Local Agency Checks.
Mr. Harris reviewed the PSC's proposal for investigative standards at this level; there was no controversy about including National Agency Checks (NACs), credit checks, and corroboration of date and place of birth. However, the original proposal, presented to the last Forum, included a requirement for written inquiries. The Forum at that time was not persuaded to include or exclude them and so directed the PSC to restudy the issue. The PSC has done so and, by a vote of 15 to 1, has recommended eliminating written inquiries but putting Local Agency Checks (LACs) with coverage for the last five years in their stead.
Mr. Harris emphasized their importance, noting that at least 20 states report no criminal history information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and that several other states delay reporting by as much as a year; thus, NACs contain serious gaps in coverage. Because of this, the PSC viewed the LAC as an important tool for helping to uncover an individual's criminal history. He nonetheless noted that even the LAC, while adding considerable value, is a mixed bag. In some states, federal investigators have direct access to state records via computer linkage. Some communities cooperate freely. Others will talk to law enforcement officials but not to personnel security investigators. Some law enforcement agencies charge for checks, others do not. However, the LAC and the NAC, when combined, provide the most complete source of criminal history information available for personnel security investigations.
Mr. Ed Appel, National Security Council (NSC), argued that the risk to the government is high if a felon has lied about criminal activity and the investigation does not uncover it. Mr. Mark Borsi, NASA, stated that this is the risk we've been taking.
Mr. Appel stated there has been a serious breakdown in the area of law enforcement officials sharing information with the FBI 1n the last ten years. Consequently, the NAC no longer provides the comprehensive picture the Community has come to expect. He observed that gaps in the picture are further aggravated by the 40 percent recidivism rate among felons and their tendency to move frequently.
It was suggested we begin collecting data on reporting by state and local law enforcement agencies to the FBI and make a recommendation for improvements to the NSC.
Mr. Borsi stated that Mr. Appel's points were disturbing in that the NAC itself has been degraded.
Mr. Appel suggested that, ultimately, legislation may be appropriate.
Ms. Fran Sclafani, CISA, concurred and stated we need national reporting that is meaningful. The Forum can't fix the problem, but agreed that it might consider highlighting the need for legislation.
Dr. Llnton Wells, OUSD(P), asked what the delta cost would be for seven versus ten years. No information is readily available. However, the scope proposed by the PSC for LACs is five years: LACs currently conducted by OPM as part of the written inquiries for E.O. 10450 purposes are scored at five years.
The Department of State (DoS) provided an issue paper that calls for including a subject interview as a part to all lnvestigatlons conducted for SECRET access.
According to Mr. Bergin, DoS, subject interviews for SECRET access are conducted for overseas assignments, if the personnel in question are to be under the authority of the Chief of Mission. Likewise, permanently assigned DoS staff receive a subject interview.
Mr. Borsi queried whether the subject interview applied to NASA detailees and if so, whether it is conducted in the CONUS. Mr. Bergin replied the subject interviews are conducted prior to departing the CONUS at the expense of DoS.
Mr. Greg Gwash, DIS, stated that DIS completes the investigation for contractors assigned to DoS and a requirement to conduct interviews would have an impact on DIS. Mr. Bergin stated that DoS conducts the interviews.
Mr. Harris advised that the Investigative Standards under discussion are for access to classified information; agencies can, when appropriate, establish additional standards for suitability. Even if the interview is not included as part of the investigative scope for access to SECRET, State may make it a requirement for assignment to its embassies.
Mr. Hall reiterated that the objective of the E.O. was to set minimum standards and that exceptions would be considered when people are detailed, such as the case with DoS overseas assignments. He further stated he didn't think the purpose of the standards was to get down to that level of detail.
It was determined that DoS will continue to conduct subject interviews for overseas assignment purposes at their cost.
CALL FOR VOTE: Mr. Hall asked if there was unanimous decision to accept the position of the PSC.
THE DECISIONS: The Forum voted to: 1) Include the LAC for CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND "L"; 2) include the LAC for reinvestigative standards for CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND "L"; and 3) rejected Department of State's recommendation to include subject interviews as a part of the investigative scope for SECRET access.
Mr. Harris provided a synopsis of the previous Forum meeting. The Forum was unable to resolve the real issue-- that being seven versus ten years of coverage for employment, references, local agency checks, and former spouse interviews. The PSC unanimously endorsed ten years' coverage for LACs; the majority supported ten years' coverage for employment and former spouse interviews; the committee split evenly on references. Comments were made that adopting ten years would necessitate a change to the SF-86, "Ouestionnaire for National Security Positions." More details of these comments are contained in the discussion section below.
Mr. Hall suggested the Forum consider the trade-off on the initial investigation versus the periodic reinvestigation. He suggested that more resources be applied to the reinvestigation, given that it is people who are already cleared who become spies. He further noted that the Joint Security Commission (JSC) recommended seven years, and that the PERSEREC study suggests that years 8, 9, and 10 did not produce sufficient or significant data to deny or revoke security clearances.
Some debate followed regarding the PERSEREC study. Mr. Joseph Holthaus, CIA, believed the study to be flawed because it was a single issue study. Mr. Appel also held the study to be flawed as only cases that went full term were reviewed. For example, those cases closed for denial during the investigation due to extent of derogatory information developed were not included.
Discussion reiterated that maintaining the ten year position would cause a change to the SF-86.
Mr. Appel stated that if we (as a Community) are not sure the SF-86 is what we want, we should do what is best; including revising the form, if necessary. He asked: "Do we want to accept the risks associated with not receiving information on years 8, 9, and 10?" Mr. Bob Opfer, FBI, agreed that ten years helps create a greater barrier to discourage Foreign Intelligence Services from attempting to infiltrate. Mr. Jim Boley, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), remarked that in the past, the NRO and CIA input on the SF-86 was virtually ignored, affecting the quality of the product.
Mr. Naper pointed out that it appears that, as we try to develop these standards, we are putting our emphasis on cost, not on security, and this could jeopardize the efforts of a strong security program. He suggested the SF-86 be revisited; recognizing this action would "open a can of worms."
Ms. Dempsey, Cochair, maintained that evidence does not substantiate the need for a ten year coverage/scope.
Mr. Hall said espionage cases show that most problems arise from the insider who has a security clearance. He noted that the Joint Security Commission commented on this fact. He further stated that we are not now achieving our five year objective in conducting periodic reinvestigation and doing so is more important than fighting the SF-86 war. He emphasized again, that resources should be applied where they will be the most productive.
Mr. Naper agreed with Mr. Hall that certainly the insider threat is the biggest problem; furthermore, there is no way to collect data that reflects success of past programs; i.e., have we deterred espionage/acts of compromise. He remained concerned about shrinking the front end of the investigation.
Mr. Wells noted that personnel security is a web and that we are considering cutting to seven years on the front end without putting safeguards in place on the other by committing actually to doing five-year reinvestigations.
Mr. Hall proposed a compromise: Ten years of coverage for LACs, given their value in supplementing the NAC; interviews of former spouses divorced within the last ten years; seven years of coverage for employment and references. Adopting this proposal would necessitate modifying the SF-86 to collect ten years of residences and employment (employment is required to do LACs in those cases where a person lived in one jurisdiction and worked in another).
THE DECISION: The Forum accepted the PSC's proposed Investigative Standards for TOP SECRET, SCI, and "Q," subject to Mr. Hall's proposed compromise.
Mr. Nelson reported that the PSC is now preparing its final report on Financial Disclosure in compliance with E.O. 12968. He provided a summary (see Attachment B) of its findings for Forum deliberation. Financial Disclosure will continue as an agenda item for the next Forum meeting.
Mr. Nelson reported that the PSC is now preparing its final report on Foreign Travel in compliance with E O. 12968. Foreign Travel will continue as an agenda item at the next Forum meeting.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: The SPB Annual Report to the President was included as a handout in the Forum packages. The Board members received their copies on 25 January 1996.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS
The following are the actions resulting from the meeting:
1. The Forum tasked Messrs. Schroeder and Harris to resolve the language of the Temporary Eligibility for Access standards.
2. The Cochairs asked the Personnel Security Committee to submit complete reports on Financial Disclosure and Foreign Travel in time for the next meeting.
3. The Board Staff will prepare Investigative Standards and Temporary Eligibility for Access standards for presentation to the Security Policy Board.
The next meeting is scheduled for 1 March 1996 from 1000-1130 hours at the Mitre Corporation, Hayes Conference Center. Actions as stated above will be the agenda items.
The meeting was adjourned at 1200 hours.