Last year I asked 'Security clearances - has Washington gone mad???' Judging by this news, it's at least unbalanced . . . security clearances are sprouting like weeds and multiplying like mosquitoes in stagnant water!
The number of people who held security clearances for access to classified information increased last year to a new reported high of more than 4.8 million persons as of October 1, 2011, a new intelligence community report to Congress said.
Last year’s annual report, the first official count of security cleared personnel, had indicated that there were over 4.2 million clearances in 2010. That number astonished observers because it surpassed previous estimates by more than a million.
But it turns out that the 2010 number itself underreported the number of clearances, and the new report to Congress presents a revised 2010 figure of 4.7 million. Even so, the number of clearances rose in 2011 by about 3% to 4.86 million, the new report said.
. . .
The total clearance figure is composed of cleared government employees and contractors, at all clearance levels — Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. (The number of Top Secret clearances alone was over 1.4 million.) It includes all persons who have been cleared for access to classified information whether or not they have actually been granted such access.
There's more at the link.
For the life of me, I can't begin to imagine why any national state would need more than 1.4 million people security-cleared to Top Secret level! It's absolutely insane! I offer here and now, without any hedging or weaseling, to bet my entire income for the rest of my life, against the same from any reader who cares to take my bet, that at least 1% of those currently holding Top Secret clearances are compromised in some way from a security perspective, and that at least 0.1% - one in a thousand of them - are currently engaged in and/or guilty of felony-level criminal (perhaps even treasonous) activities. (Judging by my experience in security-cleared posts in another country, I think that's probably a very conservative estimate.) I don't suggest anyone take the bet, though. For a start, there's no way to verify that. Furthermore, any security specialist reading these words is undoubtedly already nodding his head in agreement with my figures - if not rebuking me for being too conservative in my estimates!
Reader comments in response to last year's article were informative and sometimes amusing. What do readers think of this latest report?