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Social media can affect security clearances

The only agency who grants security clearances is the Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility. In 2016, the DODCAF announced the agency will be monitoring social media sites to include; Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, eHarmony, Match.com and many other websites. (Courtesy Photo)

The only agency who grants security clearances is the Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility. In 2016, the DODCAF announced the agency will be monitoring social media sites to include; Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, eHarmony, Match.com and many other websites. (Courtesy Photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- In today’s world, almost everyone has some form of social media platform. In the military we’re briefed on different occasions to put our social media profiles on private and to keep the amount of information we put out to a minimum. But why?

“Anyone holding a clearance, military or civilian, is a huge target for our enemies,” said Steven Doll, 92nd Air Refueling Wing personnel security. “Individuals should be extremely careful on protecting themselves on the web.”

The only agency who grants security clearances is the Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility. In 2016, the DODCAF announced the agency will be monitoring social media sites to include; Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, eHarmony, Match.com and many other websites.

Personal and criminal conduct are the primary adjudicative guidelines which apply to the illegal or improper use of social media. Individuals who hold a security clearance are held to a standard of: loyalty, trustworthiness and reliability, Doll said.

“Social media has become an integral and very public part of the fabric of most Americans’ daily lives,” said Bill Evanina, Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center director. “We cannot afford to ignore this important open source in our effort to safeguard our secrets and our nation’s security.”

In a memorandum released by James Clapper, National Intelligence director, it’s important to protect private information and not post things members wouldn’t want their boss or recruiter to see. Before joining the military, if an individual has a driving under the influence it would likely not flag alcohol consumption as a potential security risk, but, along with a variety of photos on social media sites that shows an individual inebriated or in compromising situations, may cause their clearance to be denied or revoked.

“If a crime is found, the DODCAF will process the request for information to the wing Information Protection office for an investigation or processing,” Doll said. “If a person is accused of a crime, they could have their security clearance temporarily suspended. They may also be unable to accomplish their job, receive disciplinary actions, fines, jail time, or could even be removed from federal service altogether due to permanent clearance revocation.”

Crimes that have been posted on social media sites vary from threats to the president, illegal protesting in uniform, sexual assaults, underage drinking, drug usage, child pornography, rape, DUI, attempting to join anti U.S. terrorist organizations, fraud or any other violation under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

It’s important for members to protect their social media accounts and to only allow those they trust to view their profile. Keep in mind what is posted on social media could cost a security clearance and even career, said Doll.

For more information on security clearances, contact your unit security manager.