Senate Moves to Hide Our Secret Government

A few weeks ago, the fact that there are now 4.8 million people in the US with security clearances got a fair amount of attention. 1.5% of our country has access to at least information classified as secret. The job security of most of those people depends on maintaining good standing in the somewhat arbitrary world of security clearance.

The Senate Intelligence Committee wants to make sure we don’t learn that number anymore.

In the Intelligence Authorization, it just eliminated the requirement for that report.

(3) REPEAL OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS REGARDING SECURITY CLEARANCES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Section 506H of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 415a–10) is repealed.

(B) TABLE OF CONTENTS AMENDMENT.— The National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.) is amended in the table of contents in the first section by striking the item relating to section 506H.

The language this bill would repeal reads, in part,

(b) Report on Security Clearance Determinations.–

(1) Not later than February 1 of each year, the President shall submit to Congress a report on the security clearance process. Such report shall include, for each security clearance level–

(A) the number of employees of the United States Government who–

(i) held a security clearance at such level as of October 1 of the preceding year; and

(ii) were approved for a security clearance at such level during the preceding fiscal year;

(B) the number of contractors to the United States Government who–

(i) held a security clearance at such level as of October 1 of the preceding year; and

(ii) were approved for a security clearance at such level during the preceding fiscal year;

When ODNI requested the elimination of this report in June, arguing that since the government has caught up on the backlog approving security clearances, it suggested there is no more reason to track this information. If Congress still cares how big our secret government has gotten, ODNI says, they can get briefings.

Justification: Section 506H includes two enduring reporting requirements. The requirement for a quadrennial audit of positions requiring security clearances should be repealed because the National Counterintelligence Executive, in partnership with other agencies with similar responsibilities, examines the manner in which security clearance requirements are determined more frequently than once every four years. Rather than submit a report regarding a quadrennial activity, the executive branch can provide more frequent briefings, as requested, if congressional interest persists.
With regard to the annual reporting requirement on security clearance determinations, the Executive Branch as a whole has made significant progress in expediting and streamlining the security clearance process since the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, thus reducing the saliency of this report. This reporting requirement should be replaced by briefings, as requested, if congressional interest persists.

I guess “giving citizens a hint of the size of their secret government” has nothing to do with why this report was considered salient.

This is crazy. As our secret government continues to metastasize, and as those who hold clearances are subjected to an increasingly arbitrary system of control (which I’ll discuss in a later report), the Senate Intelligence Committee has moved to hide the one report that gives us a sense of how big the secret government really is (and how much of our secret government consists of contractors).

 

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @charlie_savage Wait, people still blog? Who are those guys? https://t.co/qIqdwWoed4
2mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz And that is a wrap on today's parallel construction lesson. http://t.co/dUqzgH0Jkd
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz And that, my friends, is why this post is so important. http://t.co/lI7Xs9vZ3i Shine it on at your own peril and/or stupidity.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz So, if oversight, both at the Congressional and IG level is neutered, you have an Article II Exec Branch run amok. And that is what we have.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz When even the DOJ Inspector General is being given the run around+having critical evidence concealed from him, there is a huge problem.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Well to come little full circle back to where we started, the oversight IS A SHAM. And that's what Marcy's describing http://t.co/lI7Xs9vZ3i
15mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz But what if the oversight of all this, in the name of "security", is a complete duplicitous sham? What then?
17mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @HanniFakhoury Jeebus, I'm, trying man, I'm trying!
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Yes indeed there are, and they are central to very root of American criminal law. So, you would think oversight critical+sarcosanct, right?
19mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Okay, so there are a boatload of Constitutional rights and due process implications to the secretion+falsification of government evidence.
20mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Whoops, another interruption, sorry about that! Back to the parallel construction primer.
21mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@MichaelKelleyBI Yeah, /shrug/ uh huh. People think Frank Gaffney is an "expert" too, but that's a load of bullshit.
25mreplyretweetfavorite