You’re off duty. You’ve got your own internet handle, something along the lines of NSAGuy2016, SecretSquirrelGirl, or even something more thoughtful and less revealing like TS-SCI12345. Whatever the case, you can post what you want, when you want, because, you know, “It’s a freedom of speech thing, and I’m entitled to my own opinion.”

Yes, you are. But before you fall on your constitutional sword, read Solicitation Number HHM402-16-SM-CHECKS published on FedBizOpps.Gov by, oh, let’s just say “Other Defense Agencies” (a.k.a. 200 MacDill Boulevard, a.k.a. DIA).

Or, read about the new solicitation in Aliya Sternstein’s “Social Media Background Checkers.” Sternstein reports, “The Pentagon is conducting market research for a planned 12-month ‘social media checks’ pilot that would analyze public posts to help determine an employee’s suitability for Defense Intelligence Agency classified work.”

That’s good news if you’re a contractor who can “use a secure, encrypted internet website or document transfer tool to furnish the social media reports,” as the task requires.

It’s not such good news if you’re among those cleared professionals who, in spite of their ostensible good judgement, simply can’t keep their thoughts to themselves and somehow believe that off-hand comments (or uncontrolled rant) on some social aberration or political slip-up are relevant to pop-culture public discourse.

Are You A Threat?

What are they looking for? Much of what might make your off-duty you, you. Sternstein refers to the January 2016 statement of work: “analyze foreign comments and postings, foreign contacts and any information regarding: allegiance to the United States, foreign influence and/or preference, sexual behavior, personal conduct, financial, alcohol, legal and/or illegal drug involvement, psychological conditions and criminal conduct.”

And don’t miss, “All information indicating questionable conduct . . . must be included in the report.”

So, before you click Like next time, or have that urge to Tweet or Retweet some pithy remark, just remember, if DIA isn’t watching yet, it’s going to be.

Related News

Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.