I just set up a group on GovLoop called “Government Security Clearances” that I hope can generate interagency discussion about how we as a government grant and uphold clearances to protect sensitive information. Different agencies set different standards for information access and staff conduct and use different resources to conduct background investigations and look into allegations of security breaches. It’s clear that Uncle Sam has a legitimate interest in protecting certain kinds of data and facilities, but the system as it’s currently constituted lends itself to abuse. The problem is that most people don’t focus on that potential (and the unfortunate realities) until they themselves are under a cloud of suspicion. Witness the case of Concerned Foreign Service Officers. Their blog and website have lots of info on the topic, but since many of the group’s members are being investigated by Diplomatic Security (present company excepted, or so I hope!) it is easy to dismiss the very real problems our fragmented security clearance system can create.

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