The FBI and the CIA scrambled to defend their screening practices after discovering that one of their agents was an illegal immigrant with ties to Hezbollah.
Nada Nadim Prouty, a Lebanese national, came to Michigan on a one-year student visa in 1989. After the visa expired, she paid a U.S. citizen to marry her. In 1999, she lied her way through national securityto become a special agent for the FBI, and in 2003, she accepted a position with the CIA. The CIA relied, in part, on the FBI’s previous when it hired Prouty.
Prouty used her positions to access classified information about her relatives and a national security investigation of Hezbollah being conducted by the FBI’s Detroit field office. Her brother and sister both have significant ties to Hezbollah.
Officials at the FBI and the CIA insisted the agencies conducted thorough background checks on Prouty. FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak said agents interviewed Prouty’s associates and family in the United States and Lebanon and conducted a polygraph test. The agencies also relied on Prouty’s naturalization documents.
Tip: This case shows that no background check is foolproof. Still, some employers have no choice. For them, thorough background checks are well worth the time and effort.