WASHINGTON - The inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community said Tuesday that some admissions of crimes by spy agency workers during lie detector tests were not disclosed to law enforcement agencies because of breakdowns in government reporting procedures and poor advice from agency lawyers.
Inspector General Charles McCullough 3d said he has warned Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that intelligence agencies were inconsistent in their policies on handling and reporting crimes divulged by employees during polygraph tests. McCullough said Clapper has agreed to review agency guidelines governing crime reporting to ensure consistency across the U.S. government's intelligence agencies.
The revelations that polygraph admissions sometimes do not lead to crime reports come at a critical time for federal intelligence agencies, which are increasingly relying on lie detector tests to improve a porous government security clearance process. The Obama administration is moving to toughen oversight of government workers with secret clearances after lapses in oversight were blamed for enabling National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to disclose top-secret documents about surveillance and contract worker Aaron Alexis to go undetected before he fatally shot 12 people at the Washington Navy yard in September.
McCullough said that in several cases, officials and lawyers for the National Reconnaissance Office failed to notify federal, state, or local law enforcement officials after polygraphs of employees disclosed potential crimes, from child molestation and computer viewing of child pornography to narcotics possession and use. McCullough's office took up the review after a referral by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa), and a series of critical reports by McClatchy Newspapers in late 2012.
"The intelligence community lacks specific policy or guidance on how potential crimes should be reported," McCullough said during a conference call Tuesday.