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NCJ Number
Polygraph Volume: 22 Issue: 1 Dated: (1993) Pages: 46-79
R J Heuer Jr
Date Published
34 pages
Financial irresponsibility is one of the criteria that justifies denial or revocation of security clearances, and this article discusses the relationship between financial problems and personnel security, provides information on the prevalence of financial problems in the U.S. population, and identifies the link between financial difficulties and other behaviors of security interest.
A study of 115 Americans arrested for espionage between 1945 and 1990 shows that at least 67.8 percent were motivated by money and that money was the primary motive in at least 52.2 percent of the cases. The frequency of bankruptcy has increased dramatically since 1979 when a new bankruptcy law went into effect. Loan delinquency rates have also increased, and the Internal Revenue Service estimates that about 6 to 7 million Americans who owe taxes fail to file Federal income tax returns each year. In the latter part of 1990, 5 percent of all home mortgage payments were overdue, and about 17 percent of borrowers in the Federal guaranteed student loan program defaulted on their loans that same year. Background information on financial issues is provided that falls into four general categories: statistics on the prevalence of bankruptcy and delinquency, potential indicators of financial problems, relationship between financial problems and other problem behaviors (embezzlement, forgery, counterfeiting, and fraud), and potential mitigating factors. The importance of adequately investigating financial issues in personnel security checks is stressed, particularly with respect to espionage and the approval of security clearances. 66 references, 2 tables, and 9 figures