The agency that oversees security clearances for government contractors has a "lack of resources to accomplish its mission," according to its employees.
The Project on Government Oversight obtained a Sept. 16, 2010 email sent to employees of the Defense Security Service, which oversees the protection of U.S. and foreign classified information in the hands of industry.
According to the email, a “recurring issue” identified by DSS employees in a survey “was a lack of resources to accomplish the mission.”
About one million government contractors hold security clearances.
“As the government’s secrets are increasingly placed in the hands of private companies, we need to ensure that these companies can protect our nation’s crown jewels,” said Nick Schwellenbach, POGO’s director of investigations in a statement. “GAO reports and its own out-going director say the Defense Security Service needs to be strengthened.”
The email goes on to solicit input from DSS employees, asking workers to respond to questions such as whether they have the supplies they need.
POGO reports that a source inside DSS said most employees were “troubled by a lack of trained and experienced field security personnel, rather than how many office supplies they had.”
The DSS public affairs office did not respond to a request for comment by The National Law Journal.
Government contractors who have their security clearances denied can appeal the decision to the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals. In the past 10 years, the court has seen a staggering 25-fold increase in its docket, from 62 cases in 2000 to 1,516 last year, as reported by The National Law Journal on Sept. 20, 2010.