If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Washington Post)   854,000 Americans have a top-secret security clearance, including janitors, cafeteria workers, and a couple of dozen congressmen currently passed out over their lunches. What could go wrong?   (projects.washingtonpost.com) divider line 115
    More: Scary, security clearance, janitors, cafeterias, Walter Reed, secret prisons, Member of Congress, investigative reporters, United States  
•       •       •

1698 clicks; posted to Politics » on 19 Jul 2010 at 1:59 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



115 Comments   (+0 »)
   

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2010-07-19 12:02:40 PM
Need to know > level of clearance. Always and forever.
 
2010-07-19 12:07:07 PM
b>Dusk-You-n-Me: Need to know > level of clearance. Always and forever.

Horseshiat.

I had a friend who got a temporary gig as a chef for a Certain
Intelligence Agency, and he needed a friggin' clearance.
His contract was shorter than the time it took for them to do the
background check, and he got escorted to and from his work area
because he didn't have it (even needed escorting to the bathroom),
but the fact that his position required a clearance was the height
of stupidity.
 
2010-07-19 12:11:18 PM
DjangoStonereaver: b>Dusk-You-n-Me: Need to know > level of clearance. Always and forever.

Horseshiat.

I had a friend who got a temporary gig as a chef for a Certain
Intelligence Agency, and he needed a friggin' clearance.
His contract was shorter than the time it took for them to do the
background check, and he got escorted to and from his work area
because he didn't have it (even needed escorting to the bathroom),
but the fact that his position required a clearance was the height
of stupidity.


I think it's a perfectly reasonable suspicion that a chef might make a habit of overhearing conversations, or poisoning a certain person's food.
 
2010-07-19 12:13:21 PM
DjangoStonereaver: I had a friend who got a temporary gig as a chef for a Certain
Intelligence Agency, and he needed a friggin' clearance.
His contract was shorter than the time it took for them to do the
background check, and he got escorted to and from his work area
because he didn't have it (even needed escorting to the bathroom),
but the fact that his position required a clearance was the height
of stupidity.


Pleased to be showing me where I said anything about what positions should or shouldn't require a clearance.

My point was that it doesn't matter if you have super duper ultra top secret clearance. If you don't have a need to know, you don't get to know.

I have a clearance. That doesn't mean I can pop my head into whatever rooms I like and ask, "So what's this project all about? Oh, what's that do?" I only get access to places where I have a need to know.
 
2010-07-19 12:13:56 PM
DjangoStonereaver: the fact that his position required a clearance was the height of stupidity.

You'd be surprised. Imagine you're a chef and see Obama coming in for lunch every Wednesday at around the same time. While that might not be classified information, it certainly does need to be protected because he would be high-value for anybody who wanted to do bad things to our country, and thus the person knowing where he is at what time far in advance could compromise security.

Also, did you know air traffic controllers must all have security clearances? They would potentially know the position of military aircraft and even Air Force One. That can't be made public.
 
2010-07-19 12:26:21 PM
I want super-duper top secret clearance.
 
2010-07-19 12:26:34 PM
unless you have a clearance you cannot mop the pentagon's floors. i expect my govt to have some intelligence.
 
2010-07-19 12:27:39 PM
bberg: DjangoStonereaver: the fact that his position required a clearance was the height of stupidity.

You'd be surprised. Imagine you're a chef and see Obama coming in for lunch every Wednesday at around the same time. While that might not be classified information, it certainly does need to be protected because he would be high-value for anybody who wanted to do bad things to our country, and thus the person knowing where he is at what time far in advance could compromise security.

Also, did you know air traffic controllers must all have security clearances? They would potentially know the position of military aircraft and even Air Force One. That can't be made public.


Air Traffic Controllers I could see, but my friend was a chef,
not a waiter or line cook. He worked in an enclosed kitchen and
had no contact with anyone except the other kitchen staff.
 
2010-07-19 12:28:58 PM
Whoa, 0.2% of this country has security clearance necessary to work somewhere that requires security clearance.

Grab the tin foil and seed packets!
 
2010-07-19 12:34:00 PM
DjangoStonereaver: bberg: DjangoStonereaver: the fact that his position required a clearance was the height of stupidity.

You'd be surprised. Imagine you're a chef and see Obama coming in for lunch every Wednesday at around the same time. While that might not be classified information, it certainly does need to be protected because he would be high-value for anybody who wanted to do bad things to our country, and thus the person knowing where he is at what time far in advance could compromise security.

Also, did you know air traffic controllers must all have security clearances? They would potentially know the position of military aircraft and even Air Force One. That can't be made public.

Air Traffic Controllers I could see, but my friend was a chef,
not a waiter or line cook. He worked in an enclosed kitchen and
had no contact with anyone except the other kitchen staff.


the point of a security clearance is to study the potential employee to see if you can trust them. and there are levels of security clearances.
 
2010-07-19 12:43:50 PM
DjangoStonereaver: He worked in an enclosed kitchen and had no contact with anyone except the other kitchen staff.

And he was presumably making food for some important people. If he handled food he could have poisoned the food. If he handled plates he could have placed a bug on the bottom of the plates to record conversations.

I don't see why you're so intent on thinking that security clearances aren't for important reasons. Does it fall on the side of absurdity occasionally? Sure. But the secure people and secure areas have to be right every single time to protect their secrets. The bad guys just have to be right once.
 
2010-07-19 12:47:29 PM
Dusk-You-n-Me: My point was that it doesn't matter if you have super duper ultra top secret clearance. If you don't have a need to know, you don't get to know.

This.

If:

A. Building requires TS clearance to move about unescorted, and
B. Building requires janitorial and cafeteria services, then
C. janitors and cafeteria workers need TS clearance to do their mundane tasks in the building.

If the janitor and cafeteria lady do not have a need to know... the only way they'd get classified information is through unauthorized channels - some douche leaves papers out on his desk or throws them away in the regular trash can... which can get his clearance revoked.

Honestly, I have a hard time understanding where the outrage is coming from.
 
2010-07-19 12:54:57 PM
'Top Secret' doesn't actually mean unlimited access to all secret information, and from what I understand isn't even close to the highest level of clearance, either. My father had 'secret' level clearance when he worked at the RI arsenal as a civilian, he was never actually given information unless he needed it (as far as I know he never actually requested any, it may just be a requirement for what he was working on).
 
2010-07-19 01:17:07 PM
Barakku: 'Top Secret' doesn't actually mean unlimited access to all secret information, and from what I understand isn't even close to the highest level of clearance, either. My father had 'secret' level clearance when he worked at the RI arsenal as a civilian, he was never actually given information unless he needed it (as far as I know he never actually requested any, it may just be a requirement for what he was working on).

Exactly. As a nuke in the Navy I had top secret clearance...but I wasn't allowed to look at security sensitive plans or specs that didn't involve the portion of the plant that my work pertained to.
 
2010-07-19 01:17:30 PM
Barakku: and from what I understand isn't even close to the highest level of clearance, either

From what I understand, it's actually the second lowest level of clearance, the lowest being secret.

Also, I'm curious; an open question. Is this wasteful government spending, intelligence agencies so big nobody can track them, that kind of thing? Or does this get whitewashed under 'national security' and the government can waste all it wants because it's good for votes?
 
2010-07-19 01:24:25 PM
Talon: Honestly, I have a hard time understanding where the outrage is coming from.

It comes from the fact that people don't understand how government security clearance works. Just like pretty much all other impotent outrage.
 
2010-07-19 01:46:02 PM
GAT_00: From what I understand, it's actually the second lowest level of clearance, the lowest being secret.

Confidential is the lowest.

Classification Overview

Classified information is official government information which in the interest of national security requires protection against unauthorized disclosure. Government classified information is identified by being marked TOP SECRET, SECRET, or CONFIDENTIAL. These classification categories are described below.

CONFIDENTIAL - Classified information or material that requires protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "damage" to national security. An example of "damage" would be the compromise of information that indicates the strength of our armed forces, or disclosure of technical information about our weapons, such as performance, characteristics, test data, design, and production data.

SECRET - Classified information or material that requires a substantial degree of protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "serious damage" to national security. Wrongful disclosure of SECRET information could lead to a disruption of foreign relations significantly affecting national security or significantly impair a program or policy directly related to national security.

TOP SECRET - Classified information which requires the highest degree of protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security. Wrongful disclosure of TOP SECRET information could compromise our vital defense plans or jeopardize a vital advantage in an area of science or technology.


I'm sure there's many levels above Top Secret as well.
 
2010-07-19 01:50:11 PM
I've got a "Top Secret" clearance as I'm in technology and sometimes I have to talk to important people.

It basically means that I can be shown certain things based on a subset of a whole bunch of other crap.

It's not like there is a computer with every state secret and when I type in "Xynix" and my password I suddenly have access to every secret that is "top secret."

In fact I have access to nothing and can find out nothing based on my persona alone. There has to be justification from data owners and a whole bunch of other red tape type crap.
 
2010-07-19 02:04:59 PM
Barakku: My father had 'secret' level clearance when he worked at the RI arsenal as a civilian, he was never actually given information unless he needed it

Did he also die on the wrong side of some line on a map? Are you always trying to chase his ghost up there in your F-15?

Subby: What could go wrong?

Some double-agent-janitor could steal the sleeping Congressman's top secret Lunchables and mashed potatoes!
 
2010-07-19 02:05:41 PM
xynix: I've got a "Top Secret" clearance as I'm in technology and sometimes I have to talk to important people.

It basically means that I can be shown certain things based on a subset of a whole bunch of other crap.

It's not like there is a computer with every state secret and when I type in "Xynix" and my password I suddenly have access to every secret that is "top secret."

In fact I have access to nothing and can find out nothing based on my persona alone. There has to be justification from data owners and a whole bunch of other red tape type crap.


Same here. I'm a programmer with government customers which requires me to have one in order to evaluate algorithms or the resulting data that might result from said algorithms. Or to go to testing facilities to see hardware. But it's not like we get a safe combination to the Illuminati or something; that's just the have-nots and their ooga booga speculation.
 
2010-07-19 02:05:47 PM
What a farking shiatty waste of a headline and conversation that has followed.

Who cares how many janitors have top secret clearance or who has access to what.

The problem is we have an out of control intelligence community and it needs to be reigned in.
 
2010-07-19 02:05:54 PM
There are many levels above Top Secret, but they are all classified.

For instance, the people at Area 51 who.... +++
 
2010-07-19 02:07:28 PM
I have a friend who works for Setec Astronomy.....so I'm really getting a kick.


But seriously......why are we supposed to be outraged?

Wait they mention 9/11 and Bush.......I guess thats why we are supposed to be outraged?
 
2010-07-19 02:09:10 PM
even if one doesn't handle sensitive materials, if one is in the vicinity of these materials there is a clearance.
I see no problem with that. I had a clearance for sensitive non-critical for two internships with a couple of agencies.
 
2010-07-19 02:10:47 PM
I have a TS/SCI.....so I'm really getting a kick.
 
2010-07-19 02:11:18 PM
DjangoStonereaver: Air Traffic Controllers I could see, but my friend was a chef,
not a waiter or line cook. He worked in an enclosed kitchen and
had no contact with anyone except the other kitchen staff.


And they probably came into/left the building the same way as cleared personnel. And used the same bathrooms. Unless you're going to wrap them in a bubble, there probably is at least the potential there for them to have contact with people with security clearances, or be able to overhear their conversations.

And even if that wasn't the case, you want just anyone to be able to get the job of preparing food for this agency?
 
2010-07-19 02:11:21 PM
Dusk-You-n-Me 2010-07-19 12:02:40 PM

Mucho Thiso

// TS /No SBI
 
2010-07-19 02:12:59 PM
I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.
 
2010-07-19 02:14:13 PM
Sedatedbylife: I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.

Why? It's not anything you really have to keep secret. You can put it all over your resume and it's not an issue really. It's what you have access to that you're not supposed to talk about.
 
2010-07-19 02:15:06 PM
Sedatedbylife: I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.

I have a top secret clearance to access your mom.
 
2010-07-19 02:16:28 PM
First off, the government has been leaning heavily on the "need to know" policy since around the start of the Cold War. If you don't need to know it, you're going to have to do something illegal to get access to it (aside from the actual just accessing it). The government at least pretends like it locks down it's secrets tight. It's not really locked down that tight, mostly because government computers are so oh exploitable, but on the other hand Joe farkwit is no more capable of accessing highly classified information with a Top Secret clearance than without it.

Second, there is no clearance above Top Secret, but it would be pretty pointless anyway. The clearance system is just a very rigorous review of a persons history, including criminal records, associations, travels to foreign countries, and the like, to make sure a person is trustworthy. And let me tell you from experience if there were a clearance above Top Secret most anyone would never be able to have it, because getting TS is a huge pain in the ass. Top Secret clearance mostly just insurance against letting Achmed Al-Towelhead work on building a nuclear silo or something.

Third, theoretically anyone working in the (federal) government, or for a government contractor, can apply for a C, S, or TS clearance, even if you're just the receptionist at an IRS office. Most people wont do that unless the job requires it, one because its a big pain in the ass and two someone has to pay for that shiat and if your job doesn't require it that someone is you, but there isn't any reason beyond that it couldn't happen
 
2010-07-19 02:18:24 PM
Quasar: Whoa, 0.2% of this country has security clearance necessary to work somewhere that requires security clearance.

Yeah, this. 854K looks like a big number until you consider the population and all the stuff we do. Is the government a little too happy with the Top Secret stamp? Maybe, but this isn't an obvious way to show it.
 
2010-07-19 02:19:11 PM
Sedatedbylife: I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.

This.

Having a clearance is considered sensitive information. It's not the kind of thing that people should be posting online...
 
2010-07-19 02:19:54 PM
If anyone wants to have some good reads about people getting clearance.

Case Number: 08-09733.h1
http://www.dod.gov/dodgc/doha/industrial/2009.html


I guess its true what they say, HONESTY is the BEST POLICY.
 
2010-07-19 02:21:16 PM
macil22: What a farking shiatty waste of a headline and conversation that has followed.

Who cares how many janitors have top secret clearance or who has access to what.

The problem is we have an out of control intelligence community and it needs to be reigned in.


Thank you.
 
2010-07-19 02:22:00 PM
YouWinAgainGravity: Why? It's not anything you really have to keep secret. You can put it all over your resume and it's not an issue really. It's what you have access to that you're not supposed to talk about.

Sometimes all you need is the clearance level to deduce who you work for. Certain levels of clearance are only needed for certain employers. The higher you go, the more important it is to keep your clearance level quiet.
 
2010-07-19 02:22:26 PM
macil22: What a farking shiatty waste of a headline and conversation that has followed.

Who cares how many janitors have top secret clearance or who has access to what.

The problem is we have an out of control intelligence community and it needs to be reigned in.


wat?
 
2010-07-19 02:22:34 PM
Dusk-You-n-Me: GAT_00: From what I understand, it's actually the second lowest level of clearance, the lowest being secret.

Confidential is the lowest.

Classification Overview

Classified information is official government information which in the interest of national security requires protection against unauthorized disclosure. Government classified information is identified by being marked TOP SECRET, SECRET, or CONFIDENTIAL. These classification categories are described below.

CONFIDENTIAL - Classified information or material that requires protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "damage" to national security. An example of "damage" would be the compromise of information that indicates the strength of our armed forces, or disclosure of technical information about our weapons, such as performance, characteristics, test data, design, and production data.

SECRET - Classified information or material that requires a substantial degree of protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "serious damage" to national security. Wrongful disclosure of SECRET information could lead to a disruption of foreign relations significantly affecting national security or significantly impair a program or policy directly related to national security.

TOP SECRET - Classified information which requires the highest degree of protection, the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security. Wrongful disclosure of TOP SECRET information could compromise our vital defense plans or jeopardize a vital advantage in an area of science or technology.

I'm sure there's many levels above Top Secret as well.


AFAIK, they're more like subsets of TS than actual clearance levels unto themselves. The highest is White House clearance - NSA and/or others will check EVERYTHING, which may even include whether or not you've ever gotten so much as a parking ticket or done so much as fart in a crowded elevator and blame it on someone else.

But a "regular" TS clearance is not that hard to get, if you can afford it. Sure, it costs thousands of dollars and takes several weeks to several months to complete, but it's mostly a glorified background check - criminal record, work history, etc. - and good for 5 years if you get it.

/I think
//ask xynix, he has TS
///I only have Secret, and I got it 8 years ago when I joined the Army.
////only certain about the part where TS is valid for 5 years, and I know this because Secret is valid for 10.
 
2010-07-19 02:22:58 PM
So cost wise, what is it about 10 grand per clearance?
 
2010-07-19 02:23:26 PM
YouWinAgainGravity: Sedatedbylife: I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.

Why? It's not anything you really have to keep secret. You can put it all over your resume and it's not an issue really. It's what you have access to that you're not supposed to talk about.


In fact, it's a selling point on a resume.
 
2010-07-19 02:23:27 PM
King Something: only certain about the part where TS is valid for 5 years, and I know this because Secret is valid for 10.

Both true, and Confidential is good for 15 years.
 
2010-07-19 02:24:34 PM
An-Unnecessarily-Long-Name: macil22: What a farking shiatty waste of a headline and conversation that has followed.

Who cares how many janitors have top secret clearance or who has access to what.

The problem is we have an out of control intelligence community and it needs to be reigned in.

wat?


I don't think they realize that not all people with security clearances work in the intel community.
 
2010-07-19 02:25:06 PM
Genju: YouWinAgainGravity: Sedatedbylife: I'm always surprised how easily people will mention having something like a clearance.

Why? It's not anything you really have to keep secret. You can put it all over your resume and it's not an issue really. It's what you have access to that you're not supposed to talk about.

In fact, it's a selling point on a resume.


So true!!
 
2010-07-19 02:25:34 PM
CSB:

Out of college I looked at an offer from Johns Hopkins APL. They do a lotta work for the Navy.

One of the jobs I could have taken was a perfectly ordinary sysadmin job, but with a clearance. At the time their sysadmins weren't cleared (for everything going on there), so if they had to look at network traffic, files, etc. they had to have a spook sitting over their shoulder.

Clearing someone instead sounds like it would have been more efficient overall.

/Ended up at Big Blue instead
 
2010-07-19 02:25:42 PM
DjangoStonereaver: He worked in an enclosed kitchen and
had no contact with anyone except the other kitchen staff.


If the CIA was in the middle of something major, employees would tend to work late. This would mean that potentially the kitchen staff would need to work late as well. Simply knowing the kitchen staff's work hours could give you useful information about the inner workings of the CIA.

A while back the pentagon had to change some of their policies. It seemed when people worked late they would often order pizzas. The local pizza joints would know something major was going to happen just based on the number of orders coming from the pentagon.
 
2010-07-19 02:27:20 PM
Proving that the Bush administration was a bunch of paranoid tin foil hat wearing idiots.

Nothing makes money go out the window like the GOP in fear (I almost typed 'in heat').

www.homelandsecurityresearch.com
 
2010-07-19 02:27:51 PM
This thread is all OPSECcy.
 
2010-07-19 02:28:53 PM
The Homer Tax: YouWinAgainGravity: Why? It's not anything you really have to keep secret. You can put it all over your resume and it's not an issue really. It's what you have access to that you're not supposed to talk about.

Sometimes all you need is the clearance level to deduce who you work for. Certain levels of clearance are only needed for certain employers. The higher you go, the more important it is to keep your clearance level quiet.


So basically since SCI goes all compartment happy, it is exactly as YouWinAgainGravity said. Because I kid you not if you tried to track the company someone works for based on something as generic as SCI or TS you would be mocked like that "backtrace" guy. Otherwise if someone came to you saying they had TS/SCI Umbra you would in fact know right away they are most likely NSA.
 
2010-07-19 02:29:06 PM
The Homer Tax: Sometimes all you need is the clearance level to deduce who you work for. Certain levels of clearance are only needed for certain employers. The higher you go, the more important it is to keep your clearance level quiet.

At certain levels, there are parts of it you're supposed to keep to yourself, yes. But to just say "I have a Confidential/Secret/TS" clearance isn't really an issue, that's the kind of thing you can put down on a resume.

Now if some random person is showing interest in someone with a clearance, that's a reason to possibly be a bit worried and start shutting up.
 
2010-07-19 02:30:07 PM
Yawn. Having a clearance != you have access to secret information. Sometimes you need it jsut to be in a building, dont take the article to heart.
 
Displayed 50 of 115 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report