Security Clearance Process

U.S. Senate Investigates USAID Security Clearance Suspension Practices

Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee of the Judiciary, initiated an investigation into the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and their more than eight hundred percent rise in security clearance suspensions over the past four years which seems directly tied to political partisanship and influence. The investigation stemmed from the clearance suspension of Dr. Mark Moyers who had made complaints about USAID regarding fraud, waste, and abuse. USAID security officials contend they were unaware of Moyer’s whistleblower activities and suspended his clearance based on a complaint alleging Moyers published classified information in a book without approval from the DoD. In response to an official inquiry and list of questions from Senator Grassley, USAID officials provided statistics regarding security clearance suspensions that seem to correlate with the political climate during that time.  In CY 2016 USAID had zero clearance suspension actions. Then, the next four years looked like this:

  • 2017: eight clearances suspended and only one was reinstated
  • 2018: eight clearances suspended and zero reinstated
  • 2019: fourteen clearances suspended and five were reinstated
  • 2020: 4 clearances suspended and all four were reinstated

USAID’s response also disclosed the employees who were not reinstated left the agency before a full review and adjudicative decision could be made whether to reinstate eligibility, therefore, the Loss of Jurisdiction meant the suspension remained in place. Under the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines the clearance suspension of Moyers falls under Outside Activities and Handling Protected Information.