Behavior of Potential Security Concern
The following are examples of behaviors
that may indicate an individual has vulnerabilities that are of security
concern or that an individual is in need of assistance.1 This list of behaviors is not
all-inclusive. It is not a statement of government policy, but simply
illustrative of the kinds of behaviors that may be considered when deciding
whether a person should hold a position of trust. Some behaviors are
obviously more significant than others. Decisions are not based on any
single behavior. They are based on a "whole person" judgment that includes
evaluation of a person's strengths as well as weaknesses.
- Alcohol-related incidents at work, such
as reporting for work or duty in an intoxicated or impaired condition, or
drinking on the job.
- Alcohol-related incidents away from
work, such as driving while under the influence, fighting, child or spouse
abuse, or other criminal incidents related to alcohol use.
- Habitual or binge consumption of alcohol
to the point of impaired judgment.
Allegiance to the United States
- Actual or threatened use of force or
violence in an effort to change government policy, prevent government
personnel from performing their assigned duties, or prevent others from
exercising their constitutional rights.
- Knowing participation in any
organization or group that advocates or threatens use of force or
violence, as above.
- Fraud (for example, bribery or
solicitation of bribes, misuse of government credit card, misuse of leave,
fraudulent travel or expense accounting, tax fraud).
- Pattern of disregard for rules and
regulations (in addition to theft and fraud, this includes taking
classified information home at night, driving while intoxicated, etc.).
- Spouse or child abuse or neglect.
- Attempts to enlist others in illegal or
- Use of illegal/illicit substances.
- Misuse of prescription medication (use
other than as prescribed).
Emotional, Mental, and Personality
- Pattern of significant change from past
behavior, especially relating to increased nervousness or anxiety,
unexplained depression, hyperactivity, decline in performance or work
habits, deterioration of personal hygiene, increased friction in
relationships with co-workers, isolating oneself by rejecting any social
- Expression of bizarre thoughts,
perceptions, or expectations.
- Pattern of lying and deception of
co-workers or supervisors.
- Talk of or attempt to harm oneself.
- Argumentative or insulting behavior
toward work associates or family to the extent that this has generated
workplace discussion or has disrupted the workplace environment.
- Exploitation or mistreatment of others
through intimidation or abuse of power or position.
- Other disruptive workplace behavior that
resists supervisory direction or counseling.
- Verbal or physical threats toward work
associates or family.
- Inability to control anger -- throwing
things, acts of violence.
- Stalking-type behavior (such as unwanted
following, harassing phone calls).
- Extreme or recurrent statements of
bitterness, resentment, vengeance, or disgruntlement that suggest a risk
of some illegal or improper action.
- Threats or attempts to get even with
work associates, acts of vindictiveness.
- Living or spending beyond one's means.
Unexplained or sudden large sums of cash that may indicate illegal source
of income. (Note: This is also covered as a
- Calls at work from creditors.
- Bounced or bad checks.
- Garnishments, repossessions,
unfavorable judgments, or other indications of financial difficulty.
- Failure to make child or spousal
- Reckless or compulsive spending,
extensive gambling losses, gambling debt.
- Improper handling of official
finances or property, including repeated delinquent accountings for
advances, unexplained cash.
- Shortages or loss of property,
sloppy handling of cash funds, disregard for financial or property
Report unexplained affluence
- Unreported personal contacts with
personnel from a foreign intelligence service, foreign government, or
persons seeking classified, proprietary, or other sensitive information.
- Unreported close and continuing contact
with a foreign national, including intimate contacts, shared living
quarters, or marriage.
- Unreported relatives, or unreported
contact with relatives, in a foreign country.
- Unreported relationship between
relative, associate, or person sharing living quarters and any foreign
government, foreign intelligence service, criminal or terrorist group, or
group advocating disloyalty toward the U.S.
- Exercising benefits of dual citizenship,
including possession and use of a foreign passport without approval.
- Such a deeply held commitment to helping
a foreign country or group that an individual may be tempted to circumvent
U.S. policy or security regulations in order to assist the foreign country
Misuse of Information Technology Systems
- Unauthorized entry into any
compartmented computer system.
- Unauthorized searching/browsing through
classified computer libraries.
- Unauthorized modification, destruction,
manipulation, or denial of access to information residing on a computer
- Storing or processing classified
information on any system not explicitly approved for classified
- Attempting to circumvent or defeat
security or auditing systems, without prior authorization from the system
administrator, other than as part of a legitimate system testing or
- Failure to report paid or volunteer work
for any U.S. or foreign media, publisher, academic institution, research
organization or corporation relating to the topics on which one has
access to classified information. (See the topic on your
report certain outside activities in which you engage.)
- Recurring pattern of poor judgment,
irresponsibility, or emotionally unstable behavior.
- Deliberate omission or falsification
of material information about background when applying for security
- Voluntary association with persons
involved in criminal activity.
- Indications subject may succumb to
blackmail rather than risk exposure of a personal issue.
- Persistent lax security habits despite
management counseling (such as discussing classified information on
non-secure phone, not properly securing classified information or areas,
working on classified material at home).
- Collecting or storing classified
information outside approved facilities.
- Revelation of classified information to
unauthorized persons, including news media.
- Inappropriate, unusual, or excessive
interest in classified information outside one's need-to-know.
- Statements or actions that demonstrate
an individual believes the security rules do not apply to him/her.
- Note: Other issues relating to
mishandling of classified information are covered under
- Pattern of self-destructive or high-risk
sexual behavior that the individual is unable to stop.
- Criminal sexual behavior.
Related Topics: Reporting Improper, Unreliable or
Suspicious Behavior, Exploring the
Mind of the Spy, People Who Made a
Difference, No Good Excuses for Not
Reporting, and Spy Stories --
especially Ames, Walker, Pollard,
1. This list of security indicators is based on the Adjudicative Guidelines and the
Adjudicative Desk Reference (ADR).