Vice Chairman Warner Introduces Provision to IAA to Prevent Politicization of Security Clearance Process
Jun 03 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence marked up the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes measures introduced by the Committee’s Vice Chairman, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), to uphold the integrity of the security clearance process, prevent politically-motivated abuse, and enhance contractor insider threat programs.
“With so many national security challenges facing our nation today, it’s critical that we have a trusted workforce that can safeguard our nation’s secrets,” said Sen. Warner. “With the inclusion of several provisions aimed at ensuring the integrity of our security clearance process in today’s bipartisan bill, Americans can have the confidence that we are vetting, hiring, and retaining national security professionals that will pursue our national security interests.”
Every year, Congress authorizes intelligence funding through the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) to counter terrorist threats, prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, enhance counterintelligence, conduct covert actions and collect and analyze intelligence around the world. The bill reflects the intelligence committee’s oversight over the past year and its consideration of the president’s budgetary and legislative requests.
During this year’s markup of the bill, Sens. Warner and Susan Collins (R-ME) successfully secured their provision that builds upon their bipartisan legislation to protect the integrity of the security clearance process from being abused for political purposes. The provision also aims to increase transparency and guarantee the same rights for federal contractors and federal workforce in the security clearance process by requiring the publication of adjudicative guidelines that serve as the exclusive basis for granting, denying, and revoking a clearance. In addition, the provision also establishes a government-wide appeals process, chaired by the Director of National Intelligence, for individuals to appeal denials of requests to overturn a decision made at the agency-level to deny or revoke a clearance or crossover request.
The Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) also includes a provision by Sen. Warner that would allow derogatory information-sharing between federal agencies and cleared federal contractors on potential employee red flags in an effort to prevent and mitigate insider threats. The information-sharing system complies with insider threat programs requirements under the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual and rests on contractors giving prior consent to information-sharing.