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Spurred in part by a June 26 Legal Times article about a South Korea-born businessman’s struggle to obtain a security clearance, the House Committee on Government Reform held a hearing last week on the new standards for evaluating foreign preferences and influence when granting clearances. In response to criticism that the clearance process is inconsistent across government agencies, the revised standards strive for more uniformity but have yet to be fully implemented. Too often, said the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), at the July 13 hearing, one adjudicator deems a country an ally while another says it harbors terrorists. Consequently, individuals with ties to that country may or may not get a clearance, depending on who’s evaluating them. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Counterintelligence and Security Robert Andrews told the committee there are “no automatic denials” based on country and that religious affiliation isn’t considered, either. He aims for full implementation by Sept. 1.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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