Senate bill raises security clearance standards after Snowden

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“As we’ve seen in the recent cases of Edward Snowden and the falsification of [Office of Personnel and Management] investigations, we must have an effective background investigation process,” Portman said Friday. “While much attention has been paid in recent years to timeliness, this bill will bring much-needed oversight to the security clearance process in order to address many of the long-term concerns regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of this process.”

The bill, S. 1276, would also hold government employees and contractors more accountable for falsifying investigations and force the government to update its policy determining which positions require a security clearance.

“With the kind of threats America faces, we need to be sure that the folks trusted with access to classified information have been thoroughly vetted,” McCaskill said. “Private contractors are doing a huge bulk of these background checks, and it’s nothing short of a national security threat if they’re not conducting those checks with the care and attention needed.”

The four senators serve on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which recently held a hearing on how to avoid future security clearance abuses, such as the one that happened with Snowden.