In wake of Pentagon leak, ‘antiquated’ workers clearance system seems arduous to vary

Regardless of calls from some lawmakers, workers and coverage advocates for extra entry, the decades-old system that restricts high safety clearances for congressional workers is not prone to change within the wake of the current high-profile leak of delicate Pentagon paperwork.

Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., mentioned she was shocked to be taught of the “antiquated” system and “pink tape” surrounding clearances when she got here to Congress in 2021. 

The present system prohibits most Home workplace workers from acquiring a excessive degree of clearance, designated by the labels “high secret” and “delicate compartmented info,” or TS/SCI, that lawmakers like Jacobs say is required to successfully legislate.

“Every Member of Congress has a whole legislative crew supporting them behind the scenes, serving to to do analysis, take conferences with outdoors teams and specialists, and dig into coverage,” Jacobs mentioned in an emailed assertion. “However when our workers can’t entry TS/SCI, particularly associated to nationwide safety, election safety, and cyber threats, it hinders our potential to legislate, conduct oversight, and do our jobs to uphold the general public curiosity.”

For the reason that late Nineteen Seventies, congressional leaders, in settlement with govt department officers, restricted the variety of TS/SCI clearances issued to congressional staffers. One aide in every Senate workplace is eligible for such clearance, however just some Home committee workers and designated staffers within the places of work of the speaker and minority chief have entry within the Home.

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