Tester urges federal agencies to comply with security clearance request
Senator continues fight to protect nation’s most sensitive information
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is taking federal agencies to task for failing to respond to requests for information about security clearances.
In October 2013, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued an “Executive Memorandum” asking 80 federal entities to review how many employees have access to classified information and how many employees no longer require that access. ODNI gave the agencies a deadline of January 31, 2014 to provide the information.
But more than three months after the deadline passed, over 20 percent of the agencies still have not responded to the request for information. Tester, who has led efforts to reform the security clearance process as the Chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce, says the agencies must be more vigilant when national security is on the line.
“When it comes to the vetting of the individuals who are granted access to our nation’s most sensitive information and facilities, there is no margin for error,” Tester said. “It only takes one individual to do untold damage to our national security by exposing sensitive information about government actions and programs.”
Currently, nearly 5 million people have a security clearance, including many civilian contractors. Tester is asking the intelligence community to carefully review the policies and procedures that govern who has access to our nation’s most sensitive information.
Recently, Tester sponsored the Security Clearance Accountability, Reform, and Enhancement Act requiring federal agencies to work with Congress to determine which positions ultimately require a security clearance. The bill requires that a review would occur every five years.
Congress recently passed Tester’s SCORE Act into law, allowing the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management to use the agency’s $2 billion Revolving Fund to more thoroughly investigate cases where the integrity of the background check process may have been compromised.