Pentagon planning to scrutinize recruits with green cards and other foreign ties

(Washington Post) The Pentagon, citing terrorism and espionage fears, is developing a plan to scrutinize prospective recruits with foreign ties, including some US citizens . . .  The new vetting is likely to screen thousands of recruits per year who have what the Pentagon considers ‘‘foreign nexus’’ risks, including some Americans who marry a foreign spouse or who have family members with dual citizenship, the memos said. Anyone identified for the screening would not be allowed to attend recruit training until they are cleared, a process that could take days for some but drag on much longer for others. . . .

‘‘One primary concern associated with qualifying for these positions relates to the potential counterintelligence or terrorism risks,’’ the memo says. ‘‘ The Department must implement expanded foreign vetting and screening protocols to identify and mitigate the foreign nexus risks.’’ . . . . Among the people who could be targets of the foreign-nexus screening are people who have foreign contacts, foreign citizenship, dual citizenship, a birthplace outside the United States if born to foreign parents, family members who are not US citizens, and immediate family members who have dual citizenship, according to one of the memos.

Other factors that could require such screening include possessing a non-US passport, having financial interests abroad, residing outside the United States for more than three of the previous 10 years, and living in the country for less than the last five consecutive years unless the circumstances involved work related to the US government.

The Pentagon is preparing the new policy after Kernan’s office and the Army combined in 2018 to screen green-card holders already in the military through a new process that relies on dozens of existing intelligence databases, one Defense Department memo said. The screening detected more derogatory information about the service members in less time than traditional background checks managed by the Office of Personnel Management, the memo said. . . . (Read More)

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