Security Clearance Process

Bill to Reduce Number of Top Secret Clearances for Contractors

On January 6, 2015 Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, introduced a bill, H.R.55 – Rightsizing Activities of Intelligence Non-Governmental Contractors (RAINC) Act of 2015, that would require the U.S. Intelligence Community to reduce the number of top secret clearances granted to contractors.

Here is the official summary of the bill posted on the website:

The RAINC Act requires the Director of National Intelligence to:

(1) study the extent to which contractors are used in the conduct of intelligence activities and the type of information to which such contractors have access;

(2) by December 31, 2015, to submit a report containing the results of the study and a plan for reducing the number of intelligence community contractors with top secret security clearances that are engaged in intelligence activities, including analysis, by 25%; and

(3) by December 31, 2016, to make such reduction.

Rep. Jackson Lee also introduced bill H.R. 65Civilian Contractors Engaged in Intelligence Activities Reduction Act of 2015, in conjunction with H.R. 55 in an attempt to restrict access to intelligence information and activities by contractors.

The immediate question that comes to mind here is, does this make sense? What is the objective here? How will this help lessen the risk of the “lone wolf” from damaging national security? In the humble opinion of this writer, reducing the number of contractors with a TS clearance will not lessen the risk of an incident like “Snowden”, but rather will hinder our intelligence agencies by limiting the number of personnel who can access the information needed to accomplish their missions, thus creating more work for fewer people who will then have to prioritize already heavy workloads. These bills seem to be a misguided effort by politicians in order to appear to be doing something regarding security clearance reform.