It is not a secret that the Federal Bureau of Investigation screens its employees just like any similar security service worldwide. However, those who were born overseas and have relatives abroad, have to put up with especially rigorous checks under PARM – the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan.
According to The New York Times, if an agent was ‘unlucky’ to be born abroad, especially in the Middle East or Asia, and has profound linguistic and cultural skills, he or she now has to undergo more security interviews, polygraph tests, and reviews of travel and electronic communications.
The watch over the agents has gone as far as punishing them for “possessing the very skills and background that got them hired,” The New York Times states.
In the eyes of J. Mark Batts, an acting section chief in the FBI security division, PARM is only for the good of the country. “Persons in your situation may be vulnerable to pressures or outside influences brought on by association with foreign nationals, and the FBI is taking prudent steps to minimize any and all risks”, he said in a letter to an agent, as quoted by The New York Times.
However, the agency’s employees have been vocal claiming that the FBI has gone too far.
His lawyer Bobby Devadoss points out a career risk even for those who can boast of a sterling record. “You could be a superstar agent, but if you’re in this box, you’re in the box,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
By 2012, the FBI had increased its demand on linguists by 85 percent, with Arabic, Chinese and Farsi regarded as the priority languages, Reuters says.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the US leading counterintelligence and counterterrorism agency established in 1908. It belongs to the US Department of Justice and employs some 35,000 people.