Matt Sledge, Huffingtonpost.com: Unhappy With U.S. Foreign Policy?
Pentagon Says You Might Be A 'High Threat'. Watch out for "Hema." A security training test created by a Defense Department agency warns federal workers that they should consider the hypothetical Indian-American woman a "high threat" because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and "speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy." That slide, from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), is a startling demonstration of the Obama administration's obsession with leakers and other "insider threats." One goal of its broader "Insider Threat" program is to stop the next Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden from spilling classified or sensitive information. But critics have charged that the Insider Threat program, as McClatchy first reported, treats leakers acting acting in the public interest as traitors, and may not even accomplish its goal of preventing classified leaks. DISA's test, dubbed the "Cyber Awareness Challenge," was produced in October 2012, a month before the Obama administration finalized its Insider Threat policy. The slide about Hema is included in a section of the training about "insider threats," which are defined by an accompanying guide as "threats from people who have access to the organization's information systems and may cause loss of physical inventory, data, and other security risks." Both Hema's travel abroad and her political dissatisfaction are treated as threat "indicators." Versions of the training for Defense Department and other federal employees are unclassified and available for nyone to play online. "Catch me if you can," the training dares. In a statement to The Huffington Post, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said, "DISA was sensitive to any civil liberty concerns that might arise from any portion of the curriculum, which is why it coordinated with 26 federal agencies to ensure the maximum amount of input was received before going live." "When considering personnel for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, there are many potential indicators that must be considered when evaluating for insider threat concerns," he explained. "The department takes these variables into consideration based on past examples of personnel who engaged in spying or treasonous acts." Several million people across the federal government have taken the training since it was released, Pickart said, and there has been only one complaint. He added that the next version of the security awareness training, to be released in October, is being updated so that insider-threat test focuses more on behavior, "not personal characteristics or beliefs."Notably, the Cyber Awareness Challenge is given to a wide range of federal employees whose roles have far less to do with security threats than that of a National Security Agency contractor like Snowden.