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The Personnel Security Clearance System—the process by which the federal government incorporates individuals into secret national-security work—is flawed. After twenty-three years of federal service, Martha Louise Deutscher explores the current system and the amount of power afforded to the state in contrast to that afforded to those who serve it.
Deutscher’s timely examination of the U.S. screening system shows how security clearance practices, including everything from background checks and fingerprinting to urinalysis and the polygraph, shape and transform those individuals who are subject to them. By bringing participants’ testimonies to light, Deutscher looks at the efficacy of various practices while extracting revealing cultural insights into the way we think about privacy, national security, patriotism, and the state.
In addition to exposing the stark realities of a system that is in critical need of rethinking, Screening the System provides recommendations for a more effective method that will be of interest to military and government professionals as well as policymakers and planners who work in support of U.S. national security.