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.
Each of the headings below is linked to the adjudicative policy for that issue.
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.
- Appearing intoxicated at work.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Concealing alcohol at work or in the car.
- Sleeping at the desk.
- Irresponsible behavior while under the
- Unexplained, repeated absences on Monday
- Going "on and off the wagon."
- Comments admitting excessive drinking.
- Cannot remember something that happened while
- Use of alcohol as means of coping with stress.
- Uncharacteristically slurred speech,
disorientation, or lack of coordination.
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 Disorders
- 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
- Expression of bizarre thoughts, perceptions,
- Pattern of lying and deception of co-workers
- 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 outbursts drawing attention of those
not directly involved in the exchange.
- 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
- Threats or attempts to get even with work
associates, acts of vindictiveness.
- Living or spending beyond one's
apparent means. Unexplained or sudden large sums of cash. (Note: This
is also covered as a counterintelligence
- Calls at work from creditors.
- Denial of credit.
- Bounced or bad checks.
- Garnishments, repossessions, unfavorable
judgments, or other indications of financial difficulty.
- Failure to make child or spousal support
- 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 administration regulations.
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
- Exercising benefits of dual citizenship,
including possession and use of a foreign passport.
- 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 or group.
Misuse of Information Technology Systems
- Unauthorized entry into any compartmented
- Unauthorized searching/browsing through
classified computer libraries.
- Unauthorized modification, destruction,
manipulation, or denial of access to information residing on a computer system.
- Storing or processing classified information
on any system not explicitly approved for classified processing.
- 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 security research.
- 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 responsibility to 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 processing.
- Voluntary association with persons involved in
- Indications subject may succumb to blackmail
rather than risk exposure of a personal issue.
- Also see indicators of Emotional, Mental and
- Persistent lax security habits despite
management counseling (such as discussing classified information on nonsecure phone, not
properly securing classified information or areas, working on classified material at
- Collecting or storing classified
information outside approved facilities.
- Revelations to unauthorized persons.
- 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.
- Unauthorized contact with media.
- Note: Other issues relating to mishandling of
classified information are covered under counterintelligence
- Pattern of self-destructive and 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).