Millions With Security Clearances Heighten Risk of Future Leaks

Image: Millions With Security Clearances Heighten Risk of Future Leaks

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 12:03 PM

By Melanie Batley

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Nearly 5 million Americans hold one of three kinds of security clearances, with 1.5 million holding the highest level of top secret access to the most sensitive information, which, if revealed, could cause serious damage to national security.

According to Politico, the sheer number of clearance holders with access to classified information indicates just how difficult it can be to stop determined leakers like Edward Snowden, whose disclosure to the media of a government telephone and email data collection program has raised concerns about the screening process for clearances.

"When you have a national security apparatus that's this comprehensive and wide-ranging … you're going to need a lot of manpower," Jack Lerner, a digital privacy and national security expert at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law, told Politico. "They have ways of determining whether or not someone is trustworthy. And if you have 4.9 million people that you're making a call on, you're going to get it wrong once or twice."

Related: Ex-CIA Worker Revealed as Source of Spy Leaks

It's still not known what the specific level of clearance was that Snowden had in his job with government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. But given the potential damage that has been done by his release of classified information, some lawmakers say the episode is indicative of a fundamental problem with the clearance system.

"I'm just stunned that an individual who did not even graduate with a high school diploma, who did not successfully complete his military service, and who is only age 29, had access to some of the most highly classified information in our government," Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine, told Roll Call.

"Clearly the rules are not being applied well where they need to be more strict. It's also troubling to me when I have heard that his salary was something like $200,000 for a ... high school dropout who had little maturity, had not successfully completed anything he'd undertaken, whether it was high school, community college, or the Army."

Snowden had told The Guardian newspaper in London that he had "a very comfortable life" that included "a salary of roughly 200,000."
However, Booz Allen released a statement Tuesday saying Snowden's salary was $122,000.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Sen. Mark Udall: 'I Absolutely Stand By' Call for CIA's Brennan to Resign

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 21:58 PM

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan may have avoided losing his job over charges that the CIA spied on Sen . . .

US Forces Carry Out Operation Against Al-Shabaab in Somalia

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 20:44 PM

U.S. military forces carried out an operation on Monday against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, a U.S. Department of De . . .

'Time' Mourns Dwindling Numbers of 'Social Justice' Nuns

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 20:39 PM

A Time magazine article bemoans the stark decline in the number of "social activist" women religious in the U.S. today,  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved