Incorporating Social Media into Federal Background Investigations, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on National Security, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, May 13, 2016   [open pdf - 1MB]

This testimony compilation is from the May 13, 2016 hearing titled, "Incorporating Social Media into Federal Background Investigations," held before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on National Security. From the statement of Beth F. Cobert: "As the Committee is aware, agencies make security clearance decisions using a 'whole person' approach, meaning that available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, should be considered by adjudicators in reaching a determination. Background investigations provide agency adjudicators with the information needed in each case to examine a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative decision that a person is an acceptable security risk. One component of that approach in the 21st century is the topic of today's hearing -- social media. The Office of the Director National Intelligence (ODNI) in its role as the Security Executive Agent has developed a social media policy that has undergone extensive coordination with relevant department and agency officials, including the agencies with significant national security missions and the Federal CIO (Chief Information Officer) Privacy Committee. ODNI has taken a deliberative approach in developing its policy. It was informed by social media pilots conducted by multiple agencies, including DOD, giving insight into the issues, costs, and benefits associated with conducting a social media check as part of the personnel security vetting process. Continued analysis of the results of the pilots will guide the way forward and identify areas requiring additional research." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: William Evanina, Beth Cobert, and Tony Scott.

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