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Subject:Re: To Vet or Not to Vet From:"Robert E. Allen" <re_allen -at- PNL -dot- GOV> Date:Wed, 21 Sep 1994 17:32:38 GMT
In my previous life, I worked in a government counterintelligence
agency. My understanding of "vetting" is:
a quite, covert check into the background of someone we wish to
recruit as an agent or informant. The person belongs to the group
we wish to penetrate, therefore we cannot openly ask about the
person. For instance, the CIA wouldn't call up the KGB and ask if
a clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Washington was considered
reliable and suitable for duty as a spy. It's just not done.
If we're recruiting one of "ours," we'd run a background investigation.
For instance, a sergeant in the motor pool speaks Chinese and we'd
like him to transfer to military intelligence (there's a great term)
to translate press releases from the Beijing press office. Nothing covert
about our agents checking the sgt's records.
As others have commented, I believe the term originated with the