Over 54,000 More Americans Added to Security Clearance Rolls in Last Year

I’ve long argued that our security clearance employment system is “an arbitrary system of control that does more to foster cowed national security employees than to foster actual national security.”

So I’m none too happy to know more than 50,000 Americans have been added to this arbitrary system in the last year, making up something like 1.6% of all Americans.

The number of people who are cleared for access to classified information continued to rise in 2012 to more than 4.9 million, according to a new annual reportfrom the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  This is only the third official tally of government-wide security clearance activity ever prepared, and it is the largest reported to date.

The total number of cleared personnel as of October 1, 2012 was 4,917,751.  Although the number of contractors who held a clearance declined in 2012, the number of eligible government employees grew at a faster rate, yielding a net increase of 54,199 clearances, or 1.1 percent, from the year before.

I suspect adding 50,000 people to the rolls of clearance holders — whose lives are open to surveillance and from whom minor lies can be an excuse for termination — will simply increase the numbers of elite national security types who avoid pissing off the powerful.

Meanwhile, Josh Gerstein has an excellent report on what’s at stake in the Conyers v. Department of Defense lawsuit, in which two relatively low level DOD employees are fighting to retain their Merit Systems Protect Board protections in spite of the government deeming their jobs “sensitive.”

The Justice Department and Defense Department are arguing that federal employees like commissary managers and accountants, who don’t have access to classified information, can be demoted or effectively fired without recourse to the usual avenues of appeal if their jobs are designated as “sensitive.” The ripple effect of that — critics say it would effectively strip huge numbers of federal workers of civil service protections by treating them like those who have access to the nation’s most vital secrets — could hollow out legal protections that have allowed whistleblowers to speak out with less fear of being fired.

As I’ve noted, DOD argues that even those who sell Gatorade on military bases should receive no protections in case they’re deemed a security threat. Which means people like Rhonda Conyers and Devon Northover, the plaintiffs in this case, can be fired for holding unpopular views, because that might make them untrustworthy to sell service members Gatorade.

This is a creeping system by which more and more lucrative (and semi-lucrative, in the case of “sensitive”) jobs are subjected to arbitrary political whims.

And it’s growing.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

5 Responses to Over 54,000 More Americans Added to Security Clearance Rolls in Last Year

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @iwelsh: I'm fundraising. If you like my writing, consider giving: I'll write more. http://t.co/c7Cmfkr9mG
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MasaccioEW @NBCChicagoPD That show is simply disgusting. @NBC should be ashamed of themselves for putting it on the air.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @goldengateblond: MSNBC: Harrison Ford Crashed His Plane FOX: Member of the Hollywood Elite Crashed His Plane CNN: We Found a Plane!
7hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Interesting move fr Chevron. @DavidColeGtown
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @fordm Jesus.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Also dodging issues of WHY it appears (acc to CIA) there were no heroes. Which still exist under Obama @ColMorrisDavis
7hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Yes. Unlike you I read things before I comment on them. You're doing CIA's work right now. Congrats! @ColMorrisDavis
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis At a time, of course, when they were trying to get Yoo to invent docs to approve stuff that wasn't approved @DavidColeGtown
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Plus CIA got to make sure 2003 DOD OLC memo worked for them. @DavidColeGtown
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@sahilkapur @hillhulse And, yet, Loretta Lynch is an absolutely horrible nominee: https://t.co/K6jnEfMeVv
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @davidminpdx: Prison documentary I helped to produce, the Mind of Mark DeFriest, opens in NY and LA tomorrow. Schedule: http://t.co/KQbo
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz The secret nature of police culture encourages rampant abuse and brutality | Rare http://t.co/oUEbELi71k via @BlanksSlate
8hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2013
S M T W T F S
« Mar   May »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930