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Exclusive: Bitcoin Must Be Declared On US Security Clearance Form – DSS Official




At least some individuals seeking a security clearance from the US government in order to access classified information may have to report their bitcoin holdings prior to approval, according to an email obtained by ETHNews.

Updated | February 13, 2018

Since the publication of this story, ETHNews has received a reply from Defense Security Service Public Affairs:

"DSS has fielded a number of questions from industry as to whether ownership of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, should be reported by cleared persons or security clearance applicants. There is no current Department of Defense guidance related to the reporting of ownership of cryptocurrencies. DSS is working with DoD policy offices for further clarification and once such guidance is issued, DSS will ensure the widest dissemination to industry. Additionally, the email [that ETHNews reviewed] was an internal discussion document which was not intended to serve as policy guidance." 

Original | February 3, 2018

ETHNews has reviewed an email sent by Chad M. Campbell, an industrial security specialist with the Defense Security Service (DSS), relating that individuals submitting Standard Form 86 (SF86) should report any bitcoin holdings in their possession along with their other disclosures.

SF86 is the form that people occupying or under consideration for national security positions, and anyone else "requiring eligibility for access to classified information," must submit in order to obtain a security clearance. Among the many pieces of information that it requires are "any foreign financial interests (such as stocks, property, investments, bank accounts, ownership of corporate entities, corporate interests or exchange traded funds (ETFs) held in specific geographical or economic sectors)."

Campbell explained that private sector entities had asked the Personnel Security Management Office for Industry (PSMO-I) about bitcoin's status relative to the SF86. The PSMO-I is a branch of the US Department of Defense's DSS. It supports efforts to "ensure that industry safeguards the classified information with which it is entrusted" when working for the government.

The PSMO-I's position, Campbell said, is that "Bitcoin is considered as foreign currency and is reportable. If you are in possession [of] or trading bitcoin it must be reported within your security clearance processing paperwork."

His email does not make clear whether this "foreign currency" designation applies to bitcoin alone, or to some or all of the other cryptocurrencies on the market today. By press time, ETHNews had not heard back from Campbell on this matter, nor on the question of whether the requirement to report bitcoin holdings applies to every person submitting an SF86, or just to certain parties.  

Adam Reese

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam holds value in Ether, Bitcoin, and Monero.

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