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Security Clearance Numbers Soar

The number of people holding a U.S. government clearance to access classified material is significantly larger than the number that was reported to Congress last year, according to a startling new report released this week by the Director of National Intelligence.

The DNI report found that more than 4.2 million contractors and government employees had security clearances as of October 2010. Last year, the Government Accountability Office told Congress that an estimated 2.4 million people had security clearances.

We spoke recently with the Washington Post’s Dana Priest about the post 9-11 boom in the size and scope of the intelligence and military communities. You can hear the program on Top Secret America here.

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  • Geoff

    Learning this factoid doesn’t disturb me any more than I already was about our National Emergency Nation. I quite doubt that very many folks with newly-minted clearances will be privy to much that the press does not already know in general. Perhaps they will see records in databases detailing who is under surveillance, but they won’t be told why.

    I favor handing out as many clearances as possible. That way, there is a greater chance that someone will leak beside miscellaneous data, informative descriptions of how the security establishment wastes resources and compromises civil liberties by exceeding their authority as they expand missions and staff programs that make them look important. They are, after all, bureaucracies, such as Republicans love to hate – but not in this case. I say, expose their overreaching mendacity. Let the leaks begin!

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