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Public Statements

Social Media Use in Clearance Investigations Act of 2017

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DeSANTIS. Mr. Speaker, in the private sector, if an employer is going to hire somebody, a lot of times they will do a Google search, they will check social media postings to try to learn a little bit more about this prospective employee.

It may be hard to believe, but the Federal Government often fails to conduct a simple internet search on individuals before they are trusted with a security clearance.

Publicly available social media is one of the best ways to understand an individual's interests and intentions, but our investigatory process still focuses on interviewing the applicant's family, friends, and neighbors. For over a decade, various agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management, have conducted studies and pilot programs to assess the effectiveness of social media checks in security clearance investigations. Congress has not been provided those results.

What this bill will do is it will require these agencies to identify best practices so that we can use this going forward to make sure that the people who are employed by this government, armed with a security clearance, who have access to sensitive information that puts the security of the country at risk, that these are people whom we want to have there and they are not folks who have ulterior designs.

A lot of times it is going to be much more informative to look at their publicly available writings than to talk to somebody who may have lived next door to them in an apartment 10 years ago.

I think that this bill is overdue.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) for cosponsoring it for me, and I am proud to be here today as the sponsor. I think this should have bipartisan support. I think it will give us some good answers and we can move forward and modernize this process.


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