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Report: 4.9 million feds, contractors hold security clearances

Jul. 23, 2012 - 02:43PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
(Paul J. Richards / AFP via Getty Images)

Almost 4.9 million people held security clearances last year, according to a new report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Of those, 3.5 million were federal employees and 1.1 million were contractors. The report included more than 320,000 “other” clearance holders who could not be classified as either government or contractor based on the available data.

Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists who posted the report online Monday, said that all clearance holders must fall in one of those two categories.

This is the second year that the intelligence office has counted the number of clearance holders in response to a congressional mandate in the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act. The 4.9 million figure represents a 3 percent increase over the previous year when there were 4.7 million clearance holders.

Despite last year’s overall increase, the number of contractors with clearances fell about 8 percent in comparison with 2010, while government clearance holders rose more than 4 percent, the report indicated.

The report underscored the need for agencies to speed up the investigations and adjudications needed to get employees a clearance. It took more than a year to get clearance decisions for 5,000 cases affecting employees and contractors at the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and five other intelligence community agencies.

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