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GAO’s ‘High Risk List’ Now Includes Security Clearance Process for Federal Staff

The Government Accountability Office has included the governmentwide security clearance process for federal employees in its “high risk list” of areas that require changes in order to address fraud and mismanagement as well as reduce waste.

“A high-quality and timely personnel security clearance process is essential to minimize the risks of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to help ensure that information about individuals with criminal histories or other questionable behavior is identified and assessed,” Gene Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general and GAO head, said in a statement published Thursday.

Dodaro added the high risk list seeks to call on policymakers and government leaders to introduce new measures in order to reduce the backlog and other issues related to the security clearance process.

GAO’s addition of the security clearance process to the high risk list came after the agency released two reports in November and December of 2017 that identified several challenges such as background investigations backlog; delays in clearance processing; and the Defense Department’s concerns over the development of an information technology platform for the process.

The federal government has a backlog of at least 700,000 background investigation cases as of September 2017.

Dodaro will issue a letter to the director of national intelligence, defense undersecretary for intelligence and other principals of the Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council to notify them about GAO’s decision.

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