One security officer jokes, “What’s that overnight radio show where people come on to describe all sorts of bizarre situations and people call in to share their experiences?” This ClearanceJobsBlog thread is bizarre to say the least. The original poster lays out an alleged ‘targeting operation’ within a government office. The questioner is concerned the participants in this ‘targeting operation’ should not have access to classified information.
He / she notes a Wall Street Journal article where military diplomats were subject to toxic workplace conditions that included coworkers spying, exposing potentially derogatory information, and harassment. The claims detailed 30 witness accounts about working inside an intelligence agency and included complaints to the inspector general.
We have a question about unethical behavior by both civilian and military personnel working at a military intelligence facility in CA and whether such behavior is subject to continuous evaluation. Many of the participants in this scheme have sworn secrecy as a team and they have all justified their actions as being part of counterintelligence protocols to protect the facility from “intruders.” In this case, the “intruder” is a contractor with a federal agency. What the group does is they target, track, intercept and interfere with this person’s movement through the building. The targeting scheme has involved two or more people who listen for the targeted person to come out of their office to go to the restroom or break room or to go outside of the building. Scheme participants then track the target’s location and intercept the target when they show up at an entry point to either enter the building, enter a restroom, enter a break room, or enter a hallway. Scheme participants have treated this like it’s part of a counterintelligence training exercise, one that has been ongoing since the start of 2021. None of the participants are worried that there will be blowback since there is no evidence and no witnesses, other than those who have been participants (more than several) and probably more who are aware of this. It has been completely nonviolent and non-confrontational. It’s all psychological and uses counterintelligence methods of deterrence. It’s very ambiguous and easy to deny and hard to prove. But it is extremely unethical what they do.
Should anyone who participates in this be worried that this could affect security and suitability eligibility?
Reporting A Concern About Others – Insider Threats
Insider threats can cause immense harm to national security, so it’s important to know what to look for. While the traditional insider threat and actions to report include mishandling classified information, misuse of systems, using recording devices, suspicious cyber/financial activity, or foreign influence, that doesn’t mean that any of these things aren’t at play in this psychological dance personnel are playing with their target.
Are the individuals in this ‘alliance’ a part of a bigger conspiracy? Hard to tell, but when in doubt, there are a few actions to take.
If you are in the military, working directly for the government, or supporting as a contractor, you should report potential insider threats through your Component Insider Threat Hub/Program or other designated personnel like a Facility Security Officer (FSO) or HR.
As a contractor or other person in industry, you also have the Vetting Risk Operations Knowledge Center as a resource.
Cleared contractors must also report actual, probable, or possible espionage, sabotage, terrorism, or subversion promptly to the FBI and DCSA. DCSA also notes, “Although this requirement is not directed to unclassified information or systems, contractors must report activities that otherwise meet the threshold for reporting, including activities that may have occurred on its unclassified information systems.”
All in all, if there is something suspicious going on, report those activities, behaviors, or contacts to your FSO. However, if this situation has been escalated and investigated several times with security, HR, and even the Inspector General, and every entity denies it is substantiated, it could mean everyone is involved… or it’s all in your head.
Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” For this reason, we maintain ClearanceJobsBlog.com – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site. This article is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.