Legislation would revamp clearance process

House members have introduced legislation that would require reporting on governmentwide adjudication and investigation guidelines for the security clearance process and ways to evaluate how agencies accept each other’s clearances for employees and contractors.

The bill would require the president to submit a report to Congress that would include governmentwide adjudication guidelines, a plan to improve the professional development of security clearance adjudicators and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of interagency clearance reciprocity. The report would also include governmentwide standards for security clearance investigations and would be due in six months after the bill became law.

The proposed legislation was introduced Jan. 22 by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Eshoo chairs the Permanent Select Intelligence Committee's Intelligence Community Management Subcommittee and Issa is the panel's ranking member.

The bill would also require the president to conduct an audit of the federal government’s security process every four years and submit those findings to Congress.

And a yearly report on the number of employees and contractors who hold security clearances and the clearances that were recently approved would be required. The report would also include data from intelligence agencies on the number of security clearances that have remained open for several increments of time; such as between four months and eight months. The report would have data on the percentage of reviews caused denying a clearance or that were inconclusive.

In addition, the legislation calls for the Office of Management and Budget to submit to Congress each year a report on security clearance determinations made during the previous fiscal year that had been pending for more than a year.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 8, 2010

I agree I have served in the military for 20 years, and now all of a sudden I need a clearance. And now can't go on any orders or schools now. If they are requiring it now they are a little late you would think. Credit should not have anything to do with a clearance I think it is the most stupid thing ever. And you can not tell me that everybody that has a clearance has good credit. I hear people talking how bad there credit is all the time and still get a clearance. maybe somebody is getting paid extra to get one.

Wed, Dec 9, 2009

What are our leaders doing regarding the security clearance process in which people are being denied jobs and being physically removed from jobs because they have a bad debt? This is hurting our country in more ways than one. It hurts African Americans more than any other population. People are losing their homes, can't feed their families, all because they have had issues in the past with credit. My god, please do something about this now. I have a friend who had a job with the Secret Service working in the mail room as a contractor, she applied for the same job as a civil servant, got the job and started her security clearance, well her credit was less than perfect, they came into her work place and escorted her from the building, what the world has the security process come to. Since then she has lost her home and can't provide for her son, she is a single mom. Please someone start testimony in congress from those that have been hurt by this. This is shameful and infringes on our civil right to be able to earn a living. What is this country coming to when people are not allowed a chance to work? News on unemployment does not include tidbits on why the rate is so high, it will continue if we don't do something about this ridicules rule/law. This is just, I have no word for it, I have a story of my own as well, I haven't been fired or anything but I have been approached about a debt I have and have been told that I may lose my interim clearance. I have worked for the Federal Government for 27 years, what in the world is going on, it makes me mad because of the stupidly of it all. Emergency legislation is needed to stop this practice. The people who are being hurt are no more terrorists than our leaders, and don’t they have debt, to the IRS no doubt. Do you see the stupidity of this; we need the news outlets to draw attention to this, it is hurting the fabric of our society. How many families has this touched, we’d all be surprised, so would the President, this too is a product of the Bush Administration, it needs amending now. Does the President know people are being escorted from their jobs by security personnel, sometimes the person has been employed at the company for a long period of time, this has to stop. When did these agencies go into debt collection.

Fri, Feb 13, 2009 MA

Dear Ben, I'm glad you put this article out there. I process clearances on the DoD side of the house and it's incomprehensible to me that the agencies don't all play in one database and to get them to communicate with each other as the first step takes so long. Once we receive confirmation from them that there is a clearance out there it take another 6 months to a year for DoD to pull it in from the other agency. The time and money wasted by processors, inspectors and employees is ridiculos. The fingerprint cards that are required by EACH of these requests, even if done before, is another waste of time and money. The government processing is so far behind the times in technology it sadens me.

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