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(A) IN GENERAL.—Section 506H of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 415a–10) is repealed.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 The requirement for a quadrennial audit of positions requiring security clearances should be repealed because the National Counterintelligence Executive, in partnership with other agencies with similar responsibilities, examines the manner in which security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).

 

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

10 Responses to Senate Moves to Hide Our Secret Government

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @kgosztola: Search warrants against WikiLeaks staff: Justice Department, Google & US media silence threaten press freedom http://t.co/AX
43mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @robertcaruso: quick hit from me on why @NWS (the National Weather Service) uses all capital letters. Answer: *Thomas Jefferson* https:/…
51mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Boehner "breached the intended constitutional separation of powers in the conduct of foreign affairs." http://t.co/DmI5TmkVmb
58mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @TheBradBlog Yeah, yeah yeah. Just do it!
9hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @JasonLeopold: Interrogator who oversaw Gitmo detainee Mohamedou Slahi's torture reviewed a book on Amazon. Read what it was abt https:/…
10hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @carolrosenberg: From today's briefing with the chief prosecutor, BGen Martins: He's asked for exec branch copy of full RDI Report, won'…
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Hey @SenJohnMcCain why do you think Netanyahu+Israeli elections come before dignity of the US elected Executive Branch? Don't embarrass us.
10hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Right. But there was a milestone. Was it 1000? So maybe @TyreJim is right; You need to do more Brennan-bashing?
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @ggreenwald: Kudos to @FareedZakaria who, though in deep & painful grieving over King Abdullah, stood strong & did his CNN show this wee…
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@realDonaldTrump @GriffinTimothy If "great in bed" = how many ferret pelts you can put on a dickhead, then yes Don, you are! cc: @benwizner
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @kevinjonheller @emptywheel Why do neither of you recognize Miley Cyrus?? Granted, she is horrible, but no less so than Netanyahu.
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Probably not, no RT @dangillmor Is it safe to remove my Davos filter and resume normal twitter listening?
10hreplyretweetfavorite