Secret Service officers on the job without needed security clearances

WASHINGTON — Internal bureaucratic lapses are being blamed for yet another problem at the Secret Service.

The agency confirmed early Wednesday that Director Joseph Clancy became aware last week of several dozen uniformed officers who had been deployed without appropriate security clearances.

“The Top Secret adjudication process for some U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers had not been completed,” the Secret Service said in a statement. The statement went on to say steps have been taken to accelerate the process.

Until Top Secret clearance is granted, uniformed officers are not authorized to access facilities where such information is disclosed. They remain on the job however.

“It is anticipated that the adjudication process for all Uniformed Division Officers who have graduated from (U.S. Secret Service) training will be completed by the end of this week,” said the statement.

As of Wednesday, less than a dozen officers remain who are awaiting their credentials.

Before seven months of training, Uniformed Division officer candidates undergo a comprehensive suitability assessment that includes credit inquiries, criminal history checks and a preliminary counterintelligence review. All of this information is subsequently verified through a full scope polygraph examination that prospective Uniformed Division officers must pass before reporting to their initial training. A comprehensive background investigation begins following the successful completion of the polygraph examination.

Once the comprehensive background investigation is completed, additional records checks are conducted until the Secret Service grants a Top Secret security clearance.

“The period in between the completion of the training and the finalization of the clearances appears to be where the problem came in,” according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The agency charged with protecting the president and other top U.S. officials has been rocked by scandal after scandal including misbehavior by officers during overseas trips and following parties at the White House. Security lapses at the White House and other missteps led to former Director Julia Pierson’s resignation last fall.

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J.J. Green

JJ Green is WTOP's National Security Correspondent. He reports daily on security, intelligence, foreign policy, terrorism and cyber developments, and provides regular on-air and online analysis. He is also the host of two podcasts: Target USA and Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America.

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