Inside the NRO: Too Many Secrets?

by | Dec 12, 2012

The NRO conducts an aggressive and controversial polygraph program to screen employees and job applicants for security clearances.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) reported that during polygraphs, it had 366 confessions ranging from crimes to inappropriate personal behavior in fiscal year 2011. However, local law enforcement agencies aren’t always told so they can investigate.

For instance, a former California substitute teacher who agreed to a polygraph test so he could get a national security clearance with the NRO admitted in 2010 to molesting a girl who was his student at the time. According to McClatchy Newspapers, the police department and school district in Escondido, Calif., where the man once worked never were notified of the 2005 incident involving a third grader.

The Pentagon has told NRO it doesn’t have the authority to ask directly about crimes during its polygraph screenings. It’s supposed to directly ask only about national security issues such as spying and terrorism. Yet the agency compelled a job applicant in January to confess to stealing lipstick and smoking pot once when she was a teenager, documents show. Adding to questions about the agency’s practices, the 35-year-old woman already had gone through a polygraph in 2010 aimed at the national security issues the agency is permitted to ask about.

The National Security Agency, which along with the CIA is allowed to directly ask questions about criminal conduct in polygraph tests, is known for being aggressive about referring molestation and child pornography cases to local and state officials.

Read the full McClatchy report in the Anchorage Daily News.


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