R. A. Schultz



Usually, an outgoing government employee can get their clearance renewed prior to departure from employment unless they’re separated for cause.  This is especially true in the military.  It looks good on a resume, and makes one eligible for any number of civilian jobs with corporations doing government contract business. These clearances, unless renewed again and then only if necessary for the individual’s employment, expire after five years of issuance. To my mind, they should be terminated immediately upon cessation of government employment or military service.  If an individual then requires a clearance for civilian or non-government employment, a new background investigation should be initiated at the expense of the employer, not the American taxpayer.



While it’s true that SOME high-ranking government officials should maintain their clearances into retirement for purposes of advising and counseling their successors, these instances should be few and far between and done on an ad hoc basis.  The advice and counseling of rabidly partisan hacks like former CIA Director Jihadi John Brennan are not merely less than worthless, but potentially damaging to national security.



Any individual employed by the federal government in an ongoing career capacity who holds any level of security clearance necessary to his/her employment is subject to an update of his/her background investigation every five years.  Persons who are terminated from federal employment for cause, such as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, are stripped of their clearances upon termination.  Why FBI human resources manager Peter Strzok is still employed (and still holds a security clearance) is beyond rational explanation.



Recently, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary, had an exchange regarding security clearances with a reporterette during a press briefing.  The reporterette asked why some people were working in sensitive positions in the White House and in some government agencies without holding “permanent security clearances.” 



The reporterette asking the question obviously had no idea that the investigation necessary to obtain a "permanent security clearance" at the Top Secret SCI level needed to work in the White House might take as long as two years to complete, depending on such variables as the extent of the subject’s education, employment experience, financial history, foreign travel history, and family background, among others.  In the meantime, an "interim" clearance is granted, based on the background information available to date. IOW, it's a judgment call on the part of the agency doing the investigating. 



Should pertinent derogatory information surface during the background investigation, the individual holding the interim clearance may be immediately terminated.  Legally enforceable non-disclosure agreements are executed before the terminated person leaves the building!

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