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Homeland Security

Tax debt = Pentagon Security Risk?

More than 80,000 Defense Department employees and contractors with security clearances owed $730 million in unpaid federal taxes as of June 2012, according to nonpartisan watchdog agency.  Government Accountability Office said in a report on Monday that about 31 percent of the tax-delinquent workers already owed money when the government issued their security clearances.

“DOD officials stated that individuals having access to classified information pose a greater risk because they have more opportunity to actually compromise classified information,” the report said.

The GAO found that about 26,000 of the tax-delinquent employees and contractors had access to classified information.

“Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), “Federal tax cheats with security clearances jeopardize both our national and economic security, and could unnecessarily put our nation’s classified information at risk.”

Among all the workers who owed taxes, 40 percent had a repayment plan with the Internal Revenue Service, the report said.

The GAO said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Treasury Department and the Office of Personnel Management, who oversees federal background checks, are exploring options for detecting whether applicants owe taxes. Currently, Federal law prevents the Internal Revenue Service from disclosing private taxpayer information to other agencies, meaning an exception would be needed for workers seeking security clearances.

In its report, the GAO stated that unpaid taxes do not automatically disqualify someone from gaining a clearance. But it said that “delinquent tax debt does pose a potential vulnerability” that should be part of the review process.

“An individual who is financially overextended is at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds,” it said.

 


What is your Opinion?

With all the background checks and disclosures required to achieve a security clearance are these applicants committing fraud by not disclosing their tax obligations?  Do you think the DoD should be concerned about the applicants tax status or should they focus on other areas of the applicants background checks?

 

 

Democrat Top Post

Security clearance is something that requires a certain since of responsibility, the failure to pay is one of the indications of hardship or irresponsibility. IRS once sent me money in error and I wrote them to tell them so and they told me I was wrong.. Five years they collected back the money with penalty and interest, telling me I had no choice because I took the money. I know IRS is not always reasonable but in this case why are they being irresponsible in not perusing the debt through a tax lien against the pay of the offender and at that time to submit data of financial responsibility. If they are over extended require financial counseling and monitor their progress. This removes the threat that this is a contributing factor to a motive to commit treason. Due to the fact that you can't, by law prosecute someone for what they may do in the future this is a more reasonable approach and an important door shut that could attract foreign operatives from approaching people with top secret clearance. It also gives the employees a reasonable avenue of protection that they can volunteer to receive if they see themselves in over their head due to an illness of emergency that was unforeseen. Or if they are just irresponsible with money it is time for them to face the music and learn the consequences. M. Gullan, retired economist

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Votes 1

What do you think?

2 comments
  • 15 days ago randomperson

    randomperson I completely agree with Markygullan. The government should clearly employees with enough responsibility to pay their tax debt and the IRS should make more of an effort to collect the monies owed. There is no reason for these people not to at the least have a payment plan worked out with the IRS.

    » Read More
  • 20 days ago markeygullan

    Security clearance is something that requires a certain since of responsibility, the failure to pay is one of the indications of hardship or irresponsibility. IRS once sent me money in error and I wrote them to tell them so and they told me I was wrong.. Five years they collected back the money with penalty and interest, telling me I had no choice

    » Read More
2 comments
  • 20 days ago markeygullan

    Security clearance is something that requires a certain since of responsibility, the failure to pay is one of the indications of hardship or irresponsibility. IRS once sent me money in error and I wrote them to tell them so and they told me I was wrong.. Five years they collected back the money with penalty and interest, telling me I had no choice

    » Read More
  • 15 days ago randomperson

    randomperson I completely agree with Markygullan. The government should clearly employees with enough responsibility to pay their tax debt and the IRS should make more of an effort to collect the monies owed. There is no reason for these people not to at the least have a payment plan worked out with the IRS.

    » Read More
2 comments
  • 20 days ago markeygullan

    Security clearance is something that requires a certain since of responsibility, the failure to pay is one of the indications of hardship or irresponsibility. IRS once sent me money in error and I wrote them to tell them so and they told me I was wrong.. Five years they collected back the money with penalty and interest, telling me I had no choice

    » Read More
  • 15 days ago randomperson

    randomperson I completely agree with Markygullan. The government should clearly employees with enough responsibility to pay their tax debt and the IRS should make more of an effort to collect the monies owed. There is no reason for these people not to at the least have a payment plan worked out with the IRS.

    » Read More

Republican Top Post

Unless the applicants are specifically asked about their finances then no I don't believe they are committing fraud, But just like many employers require credit checks so should the DOD including any tax obligations. I agree with Sen.Tom Coburn “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,”

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Votes 0

What do you think?

2 comments
  • 14 days ago Seek The Right Answer

    Seek The Right Answer So the government did not think to check if security clearence applicants owed money to THEM? Okay, that is grounds for a policy adjustment. Make some additional hoops to jump through and boom done. However, the applicants knew what they owed. They outright withheld information that could compromise the security of the united states. I would sa

    » Read More
  • 21 days ago whatwouldReagando

    whatwouldReagando Unless the applicants are specifically asked about their finances then no I don't believe they are committing fraud, But just like many employers require credit checks so should the DOD including any tax obligations. I agree with Sen.Tom Coburn “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,”

    » Read More
2 comments
  • 21 days ago whatwouldReagando

    whatwouldReagando Unless the applicants are specifically asked about their finances then no I don't believe they are committing fraud, But just like many employers require credit checks so should the DOD including any tax obligations. I agree with Sen.Tom Coburn “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,”

    » Read More
  • 14 days ago Seek The Right Answer

    Seek The Right Answer So the government did not think to check if security clearence applicants owed money to THEM? Okay, that is grounds for a policy adjustment. Make some additional hoops to jump through and boom done. However, the applicants knew what they owed. They outright withheld information that could compromise the security of the united states. I would sa

    » Read More
2 comments
  • 21 days ago whatwouldReagando

    whatwouldReagando Unless the applicants are specifically asked about their finances then no I don't believe they are committing fraud, But just like many employers require credit checks so should the DOD including any tax obligations. I agree with Sen.Tom Coburn “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,”

    » Read More
  • 14 days ago Seek The Right Answer

    Seek The Right Answer So the government did not think to check if security clearence applicants owed money to THEM? Okay, that is grounds for a policy adjustment. Make some additional hoops to jump through and boom done. However, the applicants knew what they owed. They outright withheld information that could compromise the security of the united states. I would sa

    » Read More

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