Facebook, Twitter and other social media to be part of federal background checks

Want a security clearance from the federal government? You might want to think twice about what you post publicly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Federal investigators can now review public social media posts as part of background checks for employees and contractors who are asking for a security clearance, according to a new policy approved by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper this week.

The new rules, which were announced on Friday, does have its limitations. It doesn’t allow for investigators to request or require passwords, log-in information to private accounts or mine private posts. They’re also not allowed to create a social media account to friend or follow these employees to get more information from these accounts.

“Social media has become an integral—and very public—part of the fabric of most Americans’ daily lives,” Bill Evanina, director of ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center told the Wall Street Journal. “We cannot afford to ignore this important open source in our effort to safeguard our secrets—and our nation’s security.”

Evanina didn’t specify what type of posts would raise a red flag, but told The Wall Street Journal that if someone made threats against the president in social media posts that would “retained” by investigators.

Photo Credit: Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper (Associated Press)


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