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The wrong way to conduct security clearances - The Washington Post


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I paused again. “Ma’am, do you plan to read to me my SF-86 form?” I asked. If I lied in completing the form, I noted, I was unlikely to admit it in the interview. Let’s just go to the end, I suggested. “I will swear it is all true, and if you find a fault, you can accuse me of perjury.”

My common-sense suggestion had no effect. “We prefer to read the questions to you and ask you to respond,” I was told.

In other words, to grant a top-secret clearance in the United States, we ask a potential spy to fill out a form, which is given to an employee, possibly a contract worker, who then asks the candidate to verbally confirm what he has written.

Unbelievable.

That is pretty ridiculous. I figure they must have a verification step in there somewhere.

You'd love form I-94W, America's thin green line of defense against invaders from first world countries.  Along with classic questions such as "Have you ever been a terrorist?" and "Between 1933 and 1945 were you involved in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany?" it includes "Have you been arrested for a crime involving moral turpitude?"

I sort of know what "moral turpitude" is now because I looked it up, but nobody on a plane without internet access knows what it is, and even American lawyers struggle to define it precisely.

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