Secret vs Top-Secret National Security Clearance

Jetta Disco/DHS photo



Ricardo Swire



The February 16, 2018 United States White House Chief of Staff John Kelly‘s five page report downgraded the President’s Senior Advisor security status and invoked scrutiny of the country’s national security clearance procedures. The internal process allows periodic reinvestigation every five years. More than four million American citizens possess federal security clearance for work purposes, the country’s Office of Personnel Security & Suitability notifying chosen re-interviewed individuals about the intention.


Modern US counter-intelligence reports found China, Israel, Mexico and United Arab Emirates privately discussed the US President Senior Advisor’s possible manipulation by capitalizing on his sophisticated corporate empire, known financial difficulties and foreign policy inexperience. The White House Chief of Staff’s revised policy document stated “going forward all background investigations of potential Commissioned Officers should be flagged for the FBI at the outset and then hand delivered to the White House Counsel personally upon completion. The FBI official who delivers these files should verbally brief the White House Counsel on any information in those files deemed to be significantly derogatory.”


Previously the 2015 Office of the Director of National Intelligence report pegged a total 2,885,570 individuals with “confidential” and “secret” clearances, while 1,363,483 persons were assigned “top-secret” clearances. The US national security situation was compounded by the President’s former Staff Secretary’s serious domestic abuse accusations. Formal internal queries spotlighted approximately forty other White House employees who work under “interim top-secret clearance,” but are not assigned senior positions. The US National Security Adviser, Attorney-Genera, Director of National Intelligence and Federal Bureau of Investigations Director received formal copies of the White House Chief of Staff’s “Improvements to The Clearance Process” document.


The US Defence Department grants most interim clearances for twelve months. After the Standard Form 86 or Questionnaire for National Security Position is completed the FBI conducts an antecedent to determine a candidate’s suitability and aptitude to guard classified data. The applicant’s failure to completely and truthfully disclose all contacts jeopardizes the chance of final security clearance. Recently FBI agents in two Washington units were tasked with background checks on “thousands of people” across the government, who require thorough antecedents before receiving permanent security clearance.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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