Security Lax At Pentagon
August 16, 1999
The Defense Department has been lax in conducting security background investigations of personnel with access to classified information charges a draft General Accounting Office report.
- Nine out of every 10 security investigations reviewed by the GAO were found to be incomplete -- which "created risks to national security."
- In 12 percent of cases, Defense failed to follow leads on potentially serious issues involving criminal histories, alcohol and drug use, and financial problems.
- Some 120,000 background checks are conducted each year by the Defense Security Service on persons requiring top- secret and secret clearances.
- The security service currently has a backlog of 600,000 investigations involving persons who have been cleared but are due for updated reviews -- which are particularly vital, GAO says, because most spies are grown within.
In June, the Pentagon removed the service's director, Steven Schanzer, and installed a retired general, Charles Cunningham, after USA Today made inquiries.
The figures in the draft could change by the time the final report is issued in October.
Source: Edward T. Pound, "Report: 92 Percent of Security Probes Lax," USA Today, August 16, 1999.
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