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Do you think the White House broke the law with the prisoner exchange?
Current Debate Topic
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?