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Nov 26, 2013

Tester, Portman: Law enforcement must work together to prevent security clearance slip-ups

(U.S. SENATE) - Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are making sure local, state and federal agencies do a better job sharing information when assessing the suitability of individuals to receive a security clearance.

Tester and Portman want Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Sylvia Burwell to find ways to improve information sharing between agencies. Burwell's office directs the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council, which leads government-wide reforms of the security clearance process.

Tester and Portman recently held a hearing in their Homeland Security subcommittee where Office of Personnel Management officials testified that investigators do not have enough access to applicants' criminal records. The officials told the Senators that investigating security clearance applicants for violent behavior or criminal records is difficult because each of the nation's 22,000 law enforcement agencies have different rules and procedures about sharing information.

Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter, was arrested in Seattle for a gun crime in 2007, but local law enforcement did not fully disclose the incident to federal investigators.

"As we move forward with reforming the way our government conducts background investigations and awards security clearances, the feedback and perspective from officials at all levels will be required," Tester and Portman told Burwell. "We urge you to move forward with the establishment of a task force and report the findings. Doing so would provide valuable input on how we defend our nation's most sensitive data and our most secure facilities."

Tester and Portman also called on Burwell to look into the limitations that rural law enforcement departments with fewer resources face when sharing information with investigators.

Tester and Portman are the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce. They previously tackled the security clearance issue in two hearings this year and recently passed legislation to start reforming the clearance process.

Tester and Portman's Letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell by les_braswell5524

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Glendive

122 W Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: (406) 365-2391
Fax: (406) 365-8836

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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