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Personnel Security Committee

Meeting Minutes 16 January 1997

location: Department of Justice

Meeting convened:

1. Mr. John Crandell, committee chairman, convened the meeting at 0930 hours.

DIS Neighborhood Issue:

2. Mr. Crandell announced that the focus of this Personnel Security Committee meeting is to address the DIS neighborhood proposal of eliminating neighborhood coverage in Top Secret and Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBIs) when there is otherwise no derogatory information. He reviewed the requirement levied by Mr. Richard Wilhelm, Forum chairman, to examine available data and to report a recommendation back to the Forum.

3. Mr. Crandell and Ms. Lynn Gebrowsky, Research Working, Group chairwoman Outlined the activities that had occurred since Mr. Wilhelm's request, including: the Research Working Group meeting in Monterey, California where studies were presented by PERSEREC, the Office of Personnel Management, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Security Agency. The working group, at that time, found that the research data did not support the DIS neighborhood proposal. They also found that the terminology used was not consistent between studies, but, of all of the studies presented - the OPM study was the most compelling which indicated that neighborhood coverage was of significant value, even for cases with no derogatory information.

4. On 9 January 1997, the Research Working group meet again to reaffirm their findings from Monterey.

5. On 9 January 1997, there was a special meeting held by representatives of the Office of Personnel Management (John Crandell), PERSEREC (Roger Denk), DIS (Helmut Hawkins), and the Department of Energy (Lynn Gebrowsky and Gerry Eisle) to determine if there was a significant difference in neighborhoods between the active military population and the civilian population. Both the OPM study, and the PERSEREC study, showed that there was no difference.

6. On 10 January 1991, the Security Policy Board Staff convened a "last minute" meeting with several PSC members and a DIS representative in an attempt to review all available information and see if a possible compromise could be worked out. The compromise proposal developed at this meeting was rejected by DIS.

7. On 13 January 1997, a meeting of adjudicators meet to express their views on the neighborhood issue. At the end of the discussion, all of the representative voted strongly in favor of keeping the neighborhood coverage, including for favorable cases, except one-- Air Force. Voting to keep neighborhood coverage was: Department of Commerce, Central Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Organization, National Security Agency, Navy, Department of Energy, and the Department of Justice.

Investigative Standards at the White House:

8. Mr. Dan Jacobson, Deputy Director, Security Policy Board Staff, announced to the committee that he had received word that the White House added wording to the investigative standard requiring that the current neighborhood be "observed" when conducting a Top Secret, or SSBI.

PSC Neighborhood Response to the Forum:

9. After much discussion, the following language was develop as the official PSC response to the Forum regarding the neighborhood issue:

10. "The Personnel Security Committee Concluded that, at this time, there is value to be derived through the conduct of neighborhood investigations. That is. observation of the neighborhood, neighborhood interviews, and appropriated records review can provide important insights for the adjudication process. Review of current available data does not presently support a proposal that neighborhood investigations can be eliminated in cases having no matters at issue. That being said, it is believed that the language of the Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBl) standard for neighborhoods allows any investigative entity sufficient flexibility to meet the standard, provided that a reasonable effort is mate to obtain coverage in any investigative category should be compensated for through other investigative means."

Future Studies:

11. Many members of the Personnel Security Committee agreed that there is a need for more research regarding personnel security issues. This includes answering general questions such as: why do we do investigations? Also, specific studies focusing in on the efficiencies and effectiveness of current and proposed practices should be conducted. It was stressed that a common set of terminology and methods be developed so that studies can be better understood and compared.

Financial Disclosure Form:

12. Mr. Terrence Thompson, Security Policy Board Staff, notes that Mr. Pete Nelson will reconvene the Financial Disclosure Working Group and examine how the financial disclosure form might be expanded. They felt however, that before any major recommendations can be made, it would be the best to wait until the CIA (test) experience is completed and lessons can be gained from it.

Meeting adjourned:

13. Mr. Crandell adjourned the meeting at 1200 hours.

Next Meeting:

14. The next meeting of the Personnel Security Committee will be at 0930, on 7 February 1997, at the Office of Personnel.

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