Sunday, March 30, 2008

Your Role in Combating the Insider Threat

I came across a government document by this title a while back. It is a guide developed by the DIA in 2002 with the Defense Personnel Security Research Center to help finger anti-American spies. The introduction says that 80% of known spies demonstrated "one or more" conditions or certain behaviors before they turned to espionage. What are some of the characteristics of the spies? They proceed to list and categorize them. Remember, 80% of anti-American spies demonstrate at least one of these traits. (Much of the list is laughable if not downright ridiculous. But here are a few gems):

  • Repeated irresponsibility.
  • Extreme immaturity.
  • Showing unusual interest in information outside the job scope.
  • Appearing intoxicated at work.
  • Going "on and off the wagon".
  • Concealing alcohol at work or in the car.
  • Unexplained changes in mood.
  • Changes in personal hygiene.
  • Disloyalty toward the U.S.
  • Leaks to media.
If you, any of your friends, family, or co-workers show one of these traits - watch out! - they may be engaged in espionage! Almost anything on their list can be interpreted for purposes of severe political suppression. Anyone who does not fit the prototype of an American patriot is in danger.

Drinking too much? Guess what, you're a terrorist!

Having a bad day? Guess what, you're a terrorist!

Unpatriotic? ... terrorist!

Leaking our fabricated intelligence stories to the press? ... terrorist!

Going "on and off the wagon"? (Wait, what?) Oh well ... terrorist!


Anonymous said...

You need to read more carefully. The list you posted pertains to suitability, not espionage. In fact, the espionage list has things like "taking unclassified material home" and other relevant behaviors. Your attention to detail is laughable, perhaps second only to your inability to embrace context.

Acumensch said...


I think you're being facetious. The first list on the document are traits which make one "suitable" for attempting espionage. I of course knew this, and that is why this document looks even more reactionary, especially when you look at the sorts of traits they list.

Anonymous said...

I'm not being facetious. You just don't get it. The article is not about "suitability" for espionage. Suitability is a determination made by the Office of Personnel Management for competive and senior executive service federal employees. But, I understand that you're having fun with your beliefs about what the article is about, so I won't act further to burst your bubble...

Acumensch said...

Well, which is it, the suitability of people who are at risk of attempting espionage, or the suitability of people who are at risk of becoming senior executive federal service employees?

Heh, I think the former. Although the latter certainly sounds dangerous to the homeland as well.

It is a funny document. You have to wonder why, if suitability really has nothing to do with espionage (as you suggest), why the DIA would even include it in their advisory about combating "insider threats" and discuss 'suitable subjects' within their overall framework for combating "American spies", home-grown terrorists, and other sabotageurs.