Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foreclosure crisis and suspensions could jeopardize many TS security clearances; what about DADT?

The confusion over foreclosures, including the various freezes at many banks, may be jeopardizing high level clearances of some federal workers and contractors. About 854000 employees have top-secret clearances, and a third live in the Washington area.

The Washington Post story appear on p A15 on Thursday, Oct. 21, and is by Dina ElBoghdady and Dana Hedgpeth. The link is here.

Federal standards for clearances consider inability to live within one’s means as a security risk. But the standards did not anticipate a financial bubble and then crisis on the scale of the past few years, especially 2008.

However, some employees could actually benefit from the delay in foreclosures.

I applied for top secret clearances twice, once while stationed at the Pentagon when in the Army, and once when working as a computer programmer at the Washington Navy Yard in 1971. Both background investigations produced ambiguous outcomes. One interviewer asked me if I had ever been blackmailed. But for years, I was wary of jobs that required clearances because of my homosexuality. The situation for gay people started to improve in the late 80s or early 90s, about the time of the Persian Gulf wars. It’s obvious that the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military could complicate security clearances, particularly if a soldier has a same-sex relationship with a civilian with high clearance. That would make a good idea for a movie script.

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