SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 43
May 13, 2016

Secrecy News Blog: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/

USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS

A directive signed by the Director of National Intelligence yesterday formally authorizes the use of social media by official investigators who are conducting background investigations for security clearances.

See Collection, Use, and Retention of Publicly Available Social Media Information in Personnel Security Background Investigations and Adjudications, Security Executive Agent Directive 5, May 12, 2016:

The directive was crafted to avoid undue infringements on privacy.

Investigators will be limited to considering only publicly available postings. The subjects of a background investigation "shall not be requested or required" to provide passwords for access to non-publicly available materials or to make such materials available. Agencies will not be allowed to "friend" an individual for the purposes of gaining access to materials that are not otherwise available.

And the consideration of social media must be relevant to the official guidelines for granting access to classified information. That is, they must pertain to substance abuse, criminal conduct, foreign allegiance, or other such criteria. See Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, rev. December 29, 2005:

The utility of social media for background investigations remains to be demonstrated, particularly since any public posts that do not voluntarily advertise behavior that is at odds with official guidelines would not trigger investigative attention. A pilot project will be conduct to validate the approach before it is systematically included in the investigative process.

A hearing on Incorporating Social Media into Federal Background Investigations was held today by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"The use of social media has become an integral, and very public, part of the fabric of most Americans' daily lives, and it is critical that we use this important source of information to help protect our nation's security," said William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, in a statement to the House Committee.


WHAT KIND OF MILITARY OFFICERS DOES THE US NEED? (CRS)

There is a lack of consensus about what the U.S. military officer corps should look like, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says.

Divergent views exist about what type of military officers the country needs, what skills they should have, how they should be distributed by grade, what criteria should be used for their promotion or separation, and more.

"This report provides an overview of selected concepts and statutory provisions that shape and define officer appointments, assignments, grade structure, promotions, and separations." See Military Officer Personnel Management: Key Concepts and Statutory Provisions, May 10, 2016:

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Goldwater-Nichols at 30: Defense Reform and Issues for Congress, updated May 11, 2016:

Information Warfare: DOD's Response to the Islamic State Hacking Activities, CRS Insight, May 10, 2016:

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview, updated May 11, 2016:

Transportation Security: Issues for the 114th Congress, updated May 9, 2016:

U.S.-Nordic Relations, CRS Insight, May 10, 2016:

******************************

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News blog is at:
      http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:
     http://fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/subscribe.html

To UNSUBSCRIBE, go to:
      http://fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/unsubscribe.html

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at:
      http://fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

SUPPORT the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation here:
      https://fas.org/donate/