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Federal Security Clearances Drop 9 Percent Since 2011

The number of new security clearances provided by the federal government, including renewals, has decreased by 9 percent since 2011, according to a new report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The number of approved clearances dropped for the second consecutive year in FY2013, to just more than 777,000. The ODNI attributed the trend to the enforcement of a Clinton administration executive order, but one expert said this marked a natural reverse flow after the number of individuals with security clearances had ballooned prior to 2011, Government Executive reports.

Intelligence agencies have generally denied security clearance application at a higher rate than in years past – the NSA rejected 7.2 percent of clearance applicants in FY2013, compared to 5.7 in 2012.

ODNI says that the report suggests agencies are “reviewing their cleared population…pursuant to Executive Order 12968,” an order signed by President Clinton in 1995 in an effort to keep the number of employees with access to classified information at a minimum.

The report also showed that federal civilians earned more security clearances in 2013 compared to contractors. 

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