How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it
Standard Form 86 reads like a biography of each intelligence worker
And there's more
Have you ever served in the military? Whose military? And how'd that work out for you? Were you honorably discharged or was it something else? Ever been to military court?
And how about the civilian courts and police? Have you ever been arrested for anything in the last seven years? Been charged? Cited? Issued a ticket? And by the way, if the offense involved drugs or alcohol in any way, there's an extra box for you to tick.
While we're on the subject, how would you describe your relationship with drugs and alcohol? Have you ever used any? The form has boxes for you to tick to explain what. Have you ever received counseling or treatment? More boxes. Or how about this: Have you ever been advised to seek counseling or treatment? Let's get it all on the table.
"Has your use of alcohol had a negative impact on your work performance, your professional or personal relationships, your finances, or resulted in intervention by law enforcement/public safety personnel?" Tell the truth.
And in a general sense, how do you feel? Not that the government wants to poke into your mental health – "mental health counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny eligibility for access to classified information or for a sensitive position," the form helpfully explains – but no, seriously, have you ever received mental or emotional health treatment? The government would like to know the name and address of your doctor, if so.
And what about money? Have you ever filed for bankruptcy protection? Had problems with gambling? What kind of numbers are we talking about, here? Just curious. Did you pay off your debts? And who were those creditors? Names and addresses, please. And just to be thorough, make sure you list any financial problems due to credit card debts, missed alimony payments, court judgments, liens, tax debts, or anything like that.
Ever had property foreclosed or repossessed? Ever been evicted? Defaulted on a loan? Had bills or debts turned over to a collection agency? Had your wages garnished? Form 86 has boxes for everything.
And the government is particularly interested in your use of information technology systems, which it defines as "all related computer hardware, software, firmware, and data used for the communication, transmission, processing, manipulation, storage or protection of information." If during the past seven years you've accessed any systems without authorization, modified or denied others access to data that you shouldn't have, or installed or used systems that were prohibited, you have a lot of explaining to do.
Finally, when all is said and done, are you a terrorist? No, seriously, there are boxes for Yes and No. And then more boxes. Have you ever tried to overthrow the US government by force or violence? Just asking. Got friends who have? Go ahead and list their contact information.
The point is, every single person who has ever seriously applied for a position of national security significance in the US federal government has answered these questions, and they are expected to have answered them truthfully. And all of that information is on file in the Standard Form 86 database, which authorities believe has been accessed by hackers with ties to the Chinese government.
The only logical assumption to make is that every single person in the US who has some sort of connection to the intelligence community has been compromised, and no amount of ex post facto countermeasures will ever get all of the cookies back in the jar.
It's a dark day for US intelligence, and much will depend on how the Obama administration responds to the crisis. ®