Security Clearance Process

Bill Introduced to Get More Transparency in State Department’s Clearance Process

The Department of State’s (DoS) Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) was accused of discriminatory and biased practices when it came to granting security clearances due to its assignment restrictions policies. Last year, the DoS ended their restrictions policy that had allowed the DS to deny applicants a security clearance for foreign service assignments to certain countries because of their ethnicity or race. These restrictions were counter to the government-wide push for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all employees.

To further ensure the DoS keeps going in this direction, a bill called The Transparency in Security Clearance Denials Act was introduced in Congress by Congressman Ted Lieu (D), Congressman Joaquin Castro (D), and Congressman Andy Kim (D). This bill, if passed, would require monitoring of the DoS’s security clearance denials to ensure they are not based on ethnic or racial backgrounds. The DoS would also be required to provide Congress an annual report on the number of appeals for denials it received and what the outcomes were.

The goal of the bill is to ensure the DoS continues to build a diverse diplomatic workforce that can harness the strength of its employee’s language capabilities and cultural backgrounds to help respond to the many global challenges the United States faces in current times. Although the website for the DS security clearance process specifically lists race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and sexual orientation as factors NOT considered in national security eligibility, that obviously was not true based on the need for this legislation.