As of October 1, 2011, more than 4.8 million people held security clearances for access to classified information, a new intelligence community report to Congress stated.

According to a summary from Secrecy News, last year’s annual report – the first official count of security cleared personnel – initially indicated that there were more than 4.2 million clearances in 2010.

However, the article says, it turns out that the 2010 number underreported the number of clearances – it counted solely the number of clearances used to gain access to information, not the number of persons eligible for access. The true number for 2010 has been presented at 4.7 million.

Even so, the number of clearances rose in 2011 by about 3 percent to 4.86 million, the new report says.

The total clearance figure is composed of cleared government employees and contractors at all clearance levels – Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. In Top Secret clearance alone, there were 1.4 million people, the article says.

The new report indicates that 5.3 percent of the security clearance cases that CIA processed last year resulted in denial of clearance, and the number of denials at NSA reached 8 percent, according to the article.

Six of the seven intelligence community agencies that do their own clearance adjudications reported that they had cases that had been open for more than one year, the report says. The number of pending clearance cases at CIA requiring more than one year to complete was 3,755 for government employees and 732 for contractors.