by David Johnston, The New York Times
WASHINGTON - About seven F.B.I. employees with access to highly
classified information have been unable to pass polygraph examinations
administered as part of the bureau's stepped-up security program after the
arrest last year of a senior agent as a Russian spy, F.B.I. officials said
At a meeting with reporters at Federal Bureau of Investigation
headquarters, Robert S. Mueller III, the director, said that about 700
bureau employees had been given polygraph exams in the aftermath of the
arrest of Robert P. Hanssen, who has pleaded guilty to spying for
Mr. Mueller said, "We are heartened that less than 1 percent of the 700
raised issues that require further investigation."
Mr. Mueller and other bureau officials discussed expanded use of
polygraphs and other measures adopted as a result of embarrassing security
lapses found after the Hanssen case. Mr. Mueller spoke today before the
release of a report by a commission that is expected to conclude that the
lack of controls on employees made it much easier for Mr. Hanssen to pilfer
secret bureau documents without being caught.
The yearlong review of security procedures was conducted by a commission
led by William H. Webster, former director of central intelligence and the
F.B.I. Mr. Webster will testify next week about his findings to the Senate
"Every employee should recognize that in the wake of Hanssen, we have
emphasize security more than we have," Mr. Mueller said. "Anybody who looks
at our organization realizes that security was not a priority. We've moved
to address that."
In other steps to tighten security, the bureau has created a security
division, limited the number of people who have access to classified
material and tightened controls on employees who use classified computer
In addition, Kenneth H. Senser, a C.I.A. officer who is in charge of
security overhaul at the F.B.I., said the bureau will expand its use of
public records, like property sale documents, to check agents' financial
disclosure reports. He said that the bureau is considering whether to use
psychological profiles to uncover behavior that might lead to spying.
"Our goal is to deter those people, if they're thinking rationally,"
Senser said. "In some cases they don't. If we can't deter them, to try to
minimize that time between when they make the decision to go bad and when
they actually get detected, and along that way, minimize the damage that's
As for employees who were unable to pass polygraphs, Mr. Mueller said
that the results did not automatically mean they were suspected of
espionage. He said that a follow-up investigation could exonerate all of
employees. Other officials said polygraph tests may be extended to several
thousand more employees.
Mr. Hanssen, an F.B.I. counterintelligence expert for 25 years, is
awaiting sentencing next month.