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FCW : November and December 2014
As the Office of the Director of National Intelligence prepares to release its first continuous evaluation capabilities for background checks, the intelligence community is weighing how, or even whether, to use information posted on social media sites as part of its plans for individuals holding high-level security clearances. The interagency review issued after the Washington Navy Yard shooting called for ODNI to have continuous evaluation in place for employ- ees and contractors with the highest Top Secret/Sensitive Com- partmented Information clearances by September 2014 and for all TS/SCI personnel by 2016. However, the Office of Management and Budget pushed the September goal back to December to “accommodate... IT development” and said that hitting even the delayed goal was at risk. In an interview with FCW, Nation- al Counterintelligence Executive Bill Evanina said ODNI is set to launch some of the first continuous evalua- tion capabilities for agencies in early 2015 and will offer them to all federal agencies by the end of 2016. Should social media affect your security clearance? of agency information security is “contractor addressable,” according to GovWin 81% Trending The continuous evaluation system will check the names of people with security clearances against publicly available data such as police, court and credit records. That data, typically used in the standard security review cycles of five years or more, can flag issues for background investigators. When linked to continuous evalua- tion systems, Evanina said, those data- bases can more immediately provide pertinent information to investigators. Instead of waiting years for the next clearance review to roll around, the information would be available almost immediately and agencies could priori- tize investigative resources, he added. Evanina said social media isn’t cur- rently used in federal security-clearance checks. But he added that social media and other publicly available data on the Internet could accelerate checks and make them more effective. He con- firmed that several trials are under- way with federal agency volunteers to monitor employees’ publicly viewable social media activities. ODNI can access only public posts. “If you have a password” pro- tecting the data, Evanina said, “we can’t get in.” He added that the approach is similar to cur- rent security-clearance searches of public criminal and financial databases but faster. Evanina and others familiar with the trials said part of the evaluation of social media is deciding whether the information gleaned from public-facing sites is worth the time it takes to gather it. At a recent conference, a federal offi- cial said information from social media sources has led to new avenues for background-check investigations that might have not been explored previ- ously. In one trial, the findings sparked a deeper investigation for 28 percent of the participants. So far, however, it’s been a wash, the official said, with no revelatory “wow” moments sparked by social media. — Mark Rockwell FCW CALENDAR Managing innovation Naba Barkakati, GAO’s chief technologist, is among the speakers at this FCW event on the challenges of turning analytics into measurable agency results. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/BigDataAnalytics Health IT VA CIO Stephen Warren is a keynote speaker at AFCEA Bethesda’s Health IT Day, which has a special focus on improving interagency communication and industry engagement. Bethesda, Md. http://is.gd/FCW_healthit 12/3 12/2 November/December 2014 FCW.COM 3 “If you have a password [protecting the data], we can’t get in.” — BILL EVANINA NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FCW’s Federal 100 awards program offers the best opportunity to honor federal IT’s top performers in government and industry. Submit nominations at FCW.com/2015fed10 by Dec. 23.