Hearing on Security Clearance Policy
Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

December 1, 2010


REP. ANNA ESHOO (D-CA): This question is for any of the administration witnesses and/or the GAO and it relates to a longstanding concern of the subcommittee, which has been the lack of information about how many people hold clearances. In the work that's being done, whether it's through the PAC or any other cross-agency effort, are we surmounting this issue?

MR. JOHN FITZPATRICK (Director, ODNI Special Security Center): Do I understand correctly the question is --

REP. ESHOO: The lack of information about how many people actually hold clearances in our government.

MR. FITZPATRICK: So yes, we have a special data collection to provide a definitive answer on that in the February 2011 IRTPA report.

REP. ESHOO: Oh, good. Good.

MR. FITZPATRICK: We'll be able to in accordance with the IAA --

REP. ESHOO: Why is it difficult to know how many people --

MR. FITZPATRICK: To give a ballpark number is not difficult. To give a --

REP. ESHOO: An accurate account.

MR. FITZPATRICK: -- precise one requires, I think, due diligence in the way we collect that data and the way we -- the way that data changes. The -- we've already talked about the different databases that contribute to the total tracking capability for who has a clearance. We can find definitively if any individual has a clearance at any one point in time. To take at that point in time and define the number of all the people that do takes a manipulation of data in databases that weren't intended to do that. So we're making our data collection template enable us to answer that question too. So you'll see --

REP. ESHOO: What would a ballpark figure today be?

MR. FITZPATRICK: Oh, I'd like to take that one for the record. It's -- you know, I'd give you -- I'd like to take that one for the record.

REP. ESHOO: I can tell that you would, yeah. Yeah.

MR. FITZPATRICK: (Inaudible) -- off on a order of magnitude.

REP. ESHOO: I think it's probably a pretty huge number. Anyone else venture to -- no, you don't want to. Okay. Don't want that gum stuck on your shoe, right? (Laughs.) I don't blame you.

MR. FITZPATRICK: I'm happy to --

REP. ESHOO: I don't blame you because it -- well, it's not exactly a knowable number, A, and B, could have a whole 'nother hearing on the number and why. But also built into the system, how many are leaving the system too. Just because someone has a clearance doesn't mean it lasts a lifetime, and how those numbers change and how accurate our data is on it is, I think, important to keep up on. Well, I've asked a lot of questions. My overall sense is that we've made progress and I'm really pleased about that.