Intelligence: The Poisonous Fruit

Archives

April 10, 2007: As is often the case in wartime, the government looks to the civilian economy for solutions to military problems. This is now the case with security clearances. The Department of Defense handles most of the background checks for people getting government security clearances. There is a huge backlog, because the Department of Defense was not able to scale up their background check operation to deal with the larger demand after September 11, 2001.

Since then, the Department of Defense has not been able to make much of a dent in the backlog. Now, the new director of National Intelligence proposes that methods be borrowed from corporate America. There, the equivalent of Top Secret clearances can be obtained in less than two weeks. As with most situations like this, the business community wants to get things done, and done right, for the lowest possible cost. Data security is as important to the commercial sector, as it is to government and military organizations. In fact, the CIA and the military have long looked to the American financial community for help in protecting secrets.

While the government, and particularly the Department of Defense, could probably learn some useful techniques about background checks, from the business community, they will also find that there are some things a business can do, that a government agency cannot. For example, there are massive databases, containing extensive information on most Americans, that corporations use for marketing, and background checks. But the minute a government agency goes near this stuff, someone in the media or Congress shouts that civil liberties are at risk, and the bureaucrats back off. Expect to see another round of this when the Department of Defense security clearance operation tries to go corporate.

 


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close