One in five Central Intelligence Agency applications that were set aside due to background concerns showed “significant terrorist and/or hostile intelligence connections,” according to a document NSA-leaker Edward Snowden provided the Washington Post.
The classified budget document shows the government reinvestigates employees year after year because people with connections to terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, repeatedly attempt to secure intelligence jobs.
Staffers accessing classified databases they do not usually use or downloading multiple documents at work are enough to send up red flags.
“Over the last several years, a small subset of CIA’s total job applicants were flagged due to various problems or issues,” a CIA official told the Washington Post. “During this period, one in five of that small subset were found to have significant connections to hostile intelligence services and or terrorist groups.”
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The NSA detects suspicious activities by staff by trawling trillions of keystrokes each year. The agency put 4,000 security clearances under investigation, in a procedure that reportedly costs millions. The precise amount used to investigate these insider threats was not specified.