An article in the National Journal covers a security clearance process that is painfully slow at the State Department. For entry level employees at the State Department, especially interns, start dates are moved back waiting for a security clearance.
In most cases, the State Department outsources investigations to contractors, however, when an applicant has lived or traveled extensively overseas, Diplomatic Security takes over the investigation. The State Department processes 25,000 clearance cases a year and in 3Q of this year, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security needed an average of 54 days to issue entry-level clearances, down from 64 days in 2008.
In addition, the article airs allegations made by the group called Concerned Foreign Service Officers regarding State Department investigators of sometimes practicing ethnic and religious profiling, resulting from insufficient internal checks.
Follow-up: A blog on Foreign Policy published reactions from former State Department interns on this issue.
Quote of the day: “With the clearance process, as an applicant, you don’t know anything…” – State Department would-be intern.