The FBI is subjecting hundreds of employees who were born overseas or have relatives or friends there to an aggressive surveillance program that started after Sept. 11, 2001, to prevent foreign spies from coercing newly hired linguists but that has been greatly expanded, the New York Times reports. The program has drawn criticism from FBI linguists, agents and other personnel with foreign language and cultural skills, and with ties abroad. They complain they are being discriminated against by a secretive “risk-management” plan that limits their assignments and stalls their careers.
Employees in the Post-Adjudication Risk Management (PARM) plan face more frequent security interviews, polygraph tests, scrutiny of personal travel, and reviews of electronic communications and files downloaded from databases. Some of these employees, including Middle Eastern and Asian personnel who have been hired to fill crucial intelligence and counterterrorism needs, say they are being penalized for possessing the very skills and background that got them hired. They are notified about their inclusion in the program and the extra security requirements, but are not told why they have been placed in it and apparently have no appeal or way out short of severing all ties with family and friends abroad.