Los Angeles Times staff writers Eric Lichtblau and Eric Anderson report. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON–Former FBI and CIA chief William H. Webster said Wednesday that he plans to examine whether the FBI–long reluctant to require periodic polygraph testing of its agents–should use polygraphs more aggressively to ferret out possible spies.
Webster, who will assess the fallout from one of the biggest cases of suspected espionage in recent U.S. history, made the comments in an interview as new details began to emerge in the investigation of FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen, arrested as a suspected spy for Russia.
While security breaches have prompted other agencies such as the CIA and the Energy Department to adopt widespread use of polygraph exams, the FBI “has wanted to steer away from the heavy bureaucracy” of such testing, Webster said.
“There’s an attitude: ‘If we picked [employees] carefully and trust each other, why do we have to do this?’ But I think that’s got to be examined now,” Webster said.
He cautioned, however, that the allegations against Hanssen depict such a careful and “wily” spy that there were few “red flags.”