“Social media has become an integral – and very public – part of the fabric of most American’s daily lives…We cannot afford to ignore this important open source in our effort to safeguard our secrets – and our nation’s security.” – Bill Evanina, ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director in a statement.
And just like that, Security Executive Agent Directive 5 has been put in place. It allows for agencies to collect, use, and retain social media information during the background process. In other words, if you want security clearance, make sure your Facebook has been cleaned up.
There are limits. The social media posts have to be publicly viewable. They won’t ask for your passwords or for account info. They won’t be able to pose as someone and try to friend you.
If they find something that’s a potential problem with the clearance, they must attempt to independently verify the accuracy. After all, nobody’s ever posted any wrong info on line, right?
Officials say it’s really just a modern extension of the process. They might typically talk to former employers, friends, and neighbors during the clearance process. Now, they’re talking to your FB friends. Evanina said these requirements, along with considering an applicant’s public social media presence, “are a small price to pay to protect our nation’s secrets and ensure the trust the American people have placed in us.”
You can read the Full transcript of the statement here.