Security Clearance Process

Senate Bill Proposes Changes to IC Security Clearance Process and Trusted Workforce

The Senate recently passed a bill called the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 with an intent to provide exclusivity, consistency, and transparency in security clearance procedures for Intelligence Community agencies with the right of government employees to appeal unfavorable eligibility determinations to an agency-level panel. This higher level review panel, chaired by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as the government’s Security Executive Agent, would review certain agency-level panel determinations involving allegations of constitutional violations or discrimination and can remand decisions to the employing agency for reevaluation if the panel finds valid cause.

The bill also mandates the creation of Federal policy on sharing of derogatory information pertaining to contractor employees in the trusted workforce and requires the DNI to issue a policy within 180 days of enactment that facilitates sharing of derogatory information the government obtains on cleared contractors (along with any mitigation measures put in place) with Federal contractor employers’ chief security officers, to help companies maintain robust insider threat programs. The policy must comport with privacy rights, allow individuals to verify the information, and stipulate that such sharing is only for purposes of security risk mitigation.

There seems to be some push-back from the White House on the bill with concerns about the risks of potentially leaking sensitive information and adding another layer to security clearance procedures and possibly slowing down processing timelines. You can find more information on the bill here.