A report published Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that government contractors eligible for top security clearances had to wait an average of a year to start their work, and this delay has potential repercussions.
"An inexperienced investigative workforce, not fully using technology, and other causes underlie these delays. Delays may increase costs for contracts and risks to national security," states the report, a copy of which was provided to United Press International by the Federation of American Scientists.
With private contractors responsible for an ever-increasing portion of tasks through government agencies, investigations into the arrangements made with these individuals and private companies appear to be on the rise, often revealing security gaps.
GAO's analysis of 2,259 cases showed the process took an average of 446 days for initial clearances and 545 days for clearance updates. The government states that the application-submission phase should take 14 days or less, but the GAO found it took an average of 111 days.
The GAO found that statistics from the offices of the Department of Defense responsible for processing security clearance applications did not provide an accurate impression of the efficiency of the process.
On numerous occasions, the Pentagon granted top security clearances even in cases with unresolved concerns about the individual, the GAO said.
"In its review of 50 investigative reports for initial clearances, GAO found that almost all (47 of 50) cases were missing documentation required by federal investigative standards," the report states.
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