Study Finds Older Officials With Dementia May Be National Security Threat

Both current and former U.S. officials with dementia may be a national security threat, according to a study funded by the Pentagon.

A study by the RAND Corporation’s National Security Research Division wrote that the “workforce might experience a higher prevalence of dementia than in past generations” because people are living longer and working later.

“Taken together, we believe that an increasing number of cleared personnel—that is, personnel who hold or have held security clearances—have or will have dementia,” which may eventually pose a threat to national security.

The study explains that if an official begins exhibiting signs of dementia or other memory-related issues, “there is some risk that information could be compromised.”

“Therefore, it is possible that individuals who hold or held a security clearance and handled classified material could become a security threat if they develop dementia.”

While individuals who are granted a security clearance “agree not to ever disclose classified information by signing the Standard Form 312 (SF-312) nondisclosure agreement,” there are not known “vetting procedures that occur after a cleared employee leaves the workplace,” suggesting that an individual with signs of dementia may still be a security threat.

The study concludes by saying, “Considering the potential consequences of an inadvertent security breach stemming from cognitive impairment, we believe that further study of risk, recognition, and mitigation strategies is important.”

Reporting from Just the News:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has access to more classified information than most other members of Congress due to his leadership position, recently had two brief on-camera "freeze-ups," where he stopped talking and stared blankly forward for less than a minute.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared to forget her multi-month absence and needed to be told how to vote.