Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Contractors, job fairs chase professionals with high-level clearances; but the polygraphs are intrusive; what about DADT?

The Washington Post has a big article on p A14 of the Wednesday paper by Dana Hedgpeth, “Clearing way for job seekers: Job fairs help seekers; Top-secret credentials in high demand”, link here.

This talks about clearances within Top Secret, SCI’s (compartmentalized information).

People don’t necessarily make more with these jobs, but they are likely to be in high demand because it takes so long to clear someone, so contractors (holders of about a third of these jobs) prefer people already cleared. It is possible for an uncleared person to get hired into one of the jobs and wait, a subject discussed here before.

Dealing with the extra bureaucracy is a headache in some of these jobs, as is the “risk”. Also, it is more common that anything someone publishes – conceivably any public online posting – would have to go through “prepublication review” (COPA blog, February 8, 2010).

But the most intrusive part of the experience seems to be the polygraph, not normally reliable enough to be used in criminal cases or in many ordinary employment situations. Why is the polygraph acceptable here? It might be replaced by “No Lie MRI” technology – effectively electronic mind reading – in the future.

The polygraphs do get into family and sensitive matters, although since the early 1990s the intelligence services have been able to accommodate LGBT candidates (and Bill Clinton issued an official executive order allowing gays to have clearances in 1995). The military “don’t ask don’t tell” policy certainly complicates security: what if a CIA employee has a person in the uniformed military as a same-sex partner? That sounds like a good premise for a movie.

Here's a YouTube video that maintains that there are 38 levels "about top secret".

Imagine working with classified knowledge of alien civilizations around M stars 30 light years away.

But even uncleared amateur bloggers sometimes have very sensitive information (good or not) passed to them by others with agendas.

On April 11, there was a discussion here about the controversy over "introversion" and people who avoid relationships in the clearance world. It may take a degree of introversion to be able to "connect dots" the way intelligence work requires. That's the rub.

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