The U.S. Government’s Insider Threat Program – Is It Working?

June 21, 2013 – In The News
The O'Reilly Factor

Scott Vernick appeared on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on June 21, 2013, to discuss the U.S. government’s Insider Threat Program.

Following recent revelations of security leaks of highly classified information, public interest has grown surrounding the Obama administration's Insider Threat Program, which cracks down on security leaks by requiring federal employees to keep close tabs on their co-workers. The O'Reilly Factor interviewed Vernick about the program and its implications for the workplace.

"There's no doubt that, for the past couple of years, the Obama administration has been encouraging government workers to be highly sensitive and highly attuned to things that go on in the workplace which might ultimately be a threat to national security.” But, Vernick said, "The administration has a real problem. You have Bradley Manning, you have [Edward] Snowden and others before them, like Jonathan Pollard. You have five million people today who have access to classified material. You have half a million, more or less, contract workers who have top security clearance." He went on to explain that the government has had programs and incentives in place since 2011 to ensure that sensitive information is protected.

When asked whether this program is simply a political move to reassure the public because federal employees are generally security conscious in the workplace anyway, Vernick said, "The surveillance programs that have come to light are meant to strike a balance between national security, privacy and the collection of intelligence data to fight against terrorist threats. That's the point of the Verizon order, that's the point of collecting data on foreign citizens. Now, because the government has been embarrassed by leaks, the administration is trying to find a way to address the problem."