The Defense Department is building a massive information-sharing system detailing national security personnel and individuals cleared for accessing U.S. secrets, to flag who among them might be potential turncoats or other “insider threats.”
The “DoD Component Insider Threat Records System” is part of the U.S. government’s response to the 2010 leaks of classified diplomatic cables by former Pfc. Chelsea Manning. The 2011 so-called WikiLeaks executive order called for an “insider threat detection” program.
A review of the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shootings found that the department still lacked “a centralized hub” to obtain a holistic view into potential threats, Defense spokeswoman Linda Rojas told Nextgov in an email.
Now, the Pentagon is establishing a team of “cross-functional experts” trained in cybersecurity, privacy, law enforcement, intelligence and psychology — aided by the new technology — to help fill that gap, she said.
But some civil liberties advocates say the Defensewide insider threat workflow system could create a culture of mutual suspicion that silences whistleblowers.
The Pentagon expects to enter into the tool information that is gleaned, in part, from a new “continuous evaluation” approach to screening clearance-holders that uses automated data checks, according to a May 19 Privacy Act notice.
The insider-threat system also will share data pulled from public social media posts and “user activity monitoring” of employees’ private digital habits at work, the notice states. The surveillance of military networks may include keystrokes, screen captures, and content transmitted via email, chat, and data import or export.
Earlier this month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper signed a policy that would authorize investigators to vet public social media posts when conducting background checks of national security personnel.