Thursday, November 16, 2017

Guideline B: Foreign Influence

America is rich in international heritage and culture. We pride ourselves in our ability to expand our technology and enhance our military capability. We also recognize that much of this progress directly reflects the knowledge and technical expertise of our immigrant population. We also understand the value of American citizens living abroad who fall in love and marry spouses from their host nations. Many Americans in such situations continue to thrive in jobs requiring security clearances and many immigrants successfully obtain and maintain security clearance. However, some relationships and situations may not be favorably adjudicated. The risk to national security is just too great.
This article is the second in a series covering the Thirteen Adjudicative Guidelines. As a reminder, these guidelines form the investigative and adjudicative foundation of which security clearance decisions are made. They continue to provide the same service during the cleared employees continuous evaluation phase and periodic reinvestigations for security clearance updates and maintenance. The subject employee should demonstrate their competency to protect classified information under the 13 Adjudicative Guidelines and continue to do so once a security clearance is granted.

GUIDELINE B: Foreign Influence

Under Guideline B, the employee bears the burden to clearly demonstrate that they are not susceptible or vulnerable to foreign influence that could lead to unauthorized theft or disclosure of classified information.  Foreign influence can lead to unauthorized disclosure as the cleared employee may be coerced to provide classified information due to threat to foreign influences (friends, family, in-laws) or from foreign influences (blackmail, elicitation, favors).  Where Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States, may be hard to prove Guideline B: Foreign Influence could be a paired concern. Below are real life situations of how Guideline B: can impact a security clearance decision.

Situation A: STrong Allegiance to the United States but significant Foreign Influence

In an appeal to an earlier denial of a security clearance, an applicant who emigrated to the U.S. from China states that they have demonstrated loyalty to the United States and argues that there is no reason to deny their security clearance.
However, in spite of strong demonstrations of loyalty to the U.S., they hold strong ties to relatives living in China. The applicant communicates strong sense of duty and affection to Chinese family members. These relatives could come to the attention of Chinese intelligence and become subject to pressure.  This pressure could result in the applicant being coerced through family members to release sensitive data.

Situation b: STrong Allegiance to the United States but significant threat to family members

An applicant from Iraq is denied a security clearance based on civil unrest, kidnappings, and terrorism occurring in their home country and relatives living in Iraq who could be exploited. At the time of the security clearance decision, terrorist groups controlled a large portion of Iraq.
In this case, the applicant maintains contact with Iraqi family members and provides financial support. Additionally, the terrorist activity in Iraq poses a heightened risk that that could lead to coercion. The applicant is vulnerable to threats to herself and family members that could bring her to a decision point between loyalty to the U.S. and her concern for her family. This could result in failing to protect sensitive information.

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Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . He regularly consults, presents security training, and recommends export compliance and intellectual property protection countermeasures. He is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training".

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