How Your Online Presence Affects Your Security Clearance

As we become a nation which uses social media more and more, it is important to remember what you post can have far reaching implications.  In May 2016, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 5, Collection, Use, and Retention of Publicly Available Social Media Information in Personnel Security Background Investigations and Adjudications.

What does SEAD 5 have to do with you?  Well, first and foremost your security clearance is a personal responsibility and you need to maintain it.  Secondly, a security clearance is a privilege, not a right.  Before you shoot off at the mouth about my MOS requires it, Uncle Sam will gladly reassign you to a MOS which doesn’t require you to have one or put you out of the military.  The latter is way cheaper.

Now, I’m not going to go into the details of SEAD 5, but I’m going to give you the BLUF.  If it can be looked at or found using a Google search, then it is fair game for the investigator looking into your background, and it is fair game for the adjudicator responsible for determining your eligibility for a clearance.

This information isn’t to scare you, but to give you pause on what you place out there for other to see of you.  Also, mind your privacy settings.  If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, then you sure as hell don’t want the adjudicator to see it.

-Grey Cloud

Grey Cloud is an U.S. Army WTF! Moments administrator who is a SME in personal security matters with over 15 years experience.