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View Diary: Background checks on Snowden and Navy Yard shooter done by same private company (50 comments)

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  •  Was there anything about Snowden (13+ / 0-)

    ... they missed? If it's a case of someone distressed and/or radicalized by what they learn after getting the security clearance, that would be exceedingly difficult to pre-screen for. I haven't been watching closely on this story - steering clear of the pie fights &c - but I don't recall there was anything from Snowden's past that looked problematic.

    In other words, was there anything they missed that was relevant? Clearly there was in the case of Alexis. In cases like his, and domestic violence cases, they often let marginal cases go "with a warning."

    What if it went like this: Alexis shoots up the guys' tires, or through the neighbor's floor. Have a mechanism where a deal can be struck. We don't press charges, but if and only if you voluntarily enter a "No Buy" list for guns. A little more public safety is the result, without having to have a felony conviction or being ruled insane by a court.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 01:06:50 PM PDT

    •  I think it likely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, Eyesbright

      that most of they did was a records search, with interviews only for primary contacts.  Interviewing people he only knew tangentially costs money, and rarely reinforces the ideas they get from the primary interviews.  And these people tend to develop a narrative or profile early, and only to do research that supports it.

      I used to get in hot water occasionally for going on tangents, but got out because those tangents paid off more often than not.  But there are a lot of 'in the box' thinkers doing this kind of work.

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:43:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      In other words, was there anything they missed that was relevant?
      What they missed was that, if we believe Snowden and not a later statement from his father, Snowden took the job intending to release secrets, "after getting the security clearance" has no relevance (per Snowden, as opposed to Snowden pere).  Linky here.

      In other words, from Hunter @ top:

      Background checks of course have limited prognostication abilities—exploring a person's past is not fully predictive of their future motivations, after all,
      This is true. But if a background check can't even tell us something about a person's present motivations, then why are we as taxpayers paying for them?
      •  They can't read minds yet (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Be thankful that Minority Report is just a movie.

        There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

        by chuckvw on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:46:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david78209, vcmvo2

          I've been through the process before it was outsourced, as others above said they have. It took many months, often well over a year, references were interviewed, neighbors and former neighbors were interviewed, it was an extremely extensive process.

          Apparently it is now outsourced. As taxpayers we're clearly getting less. Are we paying less? Or are we getting screwed? Seems like a simple enough question.

          •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm not sure how you have construed anything in my comment to be in disagreement.

            I was addressing the point about Snowden. If a person harbors a secret intention and tells no one about it, all things being equal, the process could drill down to interpreting kindergarten finger paintings and still not find anything amiss.

            I completely agree about privatization of this function and so many others...

            There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

            by chuckvw on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 07:06:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but that seems to assume he told absolutely nobody about it whatever. That would be an odd thing to assume, he has a girlfriend and is seeking a job but says nothing about why? Family? Friends? None of this makes them suspicious? He seeks to uncover secrets but never says anything that makes anyone around him suspicious? I actually heard from lots of people who had been interviewed when I went through the process.

              And, other point, if you're saying nothing can be discerned about intention from a, say, 18 month long background investigation, then what's the purpose of the investigation. In the past when such investigations failed to uncover something that was plainly there it was seen as a failure of the process.

          •  There is a difference between a TS (0+ / 0-)

            and a secret.

    •  Yes, for Snowden (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Wynter

      From what I remember, the investigation did uncover some discrepancies in his forms and answers.  Some of the them were education related.  Booz, probably under the gun to put a body in the slot, then ignored the red flags and hired him any way.  That is what is missing in this story...what Booz knew and why they still hired him.  In some contracts, there is tremendous amount of pressure to get a billable body into the slot and the management doesn't want to wait weeks or months...and they don't want to hear excuses.  So if some manager got someone with a couple of minor red flags, he or she would still likely hire the person because of the pressure from above to bill, bill, bill.

      Of course, if someone took a position solely to get information and leak it, then it is probably hard to catch them before hand.

      I went into science for the money and the sex. Imagine my surprise.

      by Mote Dai on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:57:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Snowden Was A High School Dropout (0+ / 0-)

        And lot of people here said that just proved he was a genius, because Einstein dropped out of high school.  Except (dumbass!) Einstein wasn't a dropout.

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 07:02:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This had to do with Johns Hopkins (0+ / 0-)

          He said he had Johns Hopkins coursework...and he didn't.

          I went into science for the money and the sex. Imagine my surprise.

          by Mote Dai on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:17:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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