Obtaining Security Clearance

Security Clearance Reciprocity Does Not Apply to Secret Service Jobs


So you have a Top Secret clearance and want to apply for a Secret Service position that requires the same or lower level of clearance; no problem under the rules of reciprocity, right? Wrong! The Secret Service is one of the few exceptions when it comes to an agency being required to accept the security clearance decisions of other agencies.

On the U.S. Secret Service website under the frequently asked questions it states “Regardless of the clearance level of the applicant, the Secret Service will complete its own full background investigation prior to the appointment of all applicants.”  So why isn’t the Secret Service required to follow the Office of the Director of National Intelligence guidance that requires agencies to accept security clearance decisions of granting authorities if the investigation was at the appropriate level and no issues or concerns were present?

Put plainly, the Secret Service is responsible for the protection of the President of the United States and wants to ensure that every person who may potentially come into contact with the President has been investigated and vetted by their own investigators to ensure that no stones are unturned,  no questions go unanswered, and all concerns are properly addressed and mitigated before a favorable decision is made. Applicants must first pass an extensive pre-employment process to even be considered for a position. Then Single Scope Background Investigation is initiated and takes approximately six to nine months to complete, depending on the applicant’s history, and completion of the full investigation and a favorable decision is required before appointment.