Intelligence: August 5, 2002

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The fear of al Qaeda sympathizers in the United States becoming spies has caused an enlargement of the list of people in government work who must get security clearances. This now includes many maintenance and support personnel who do not come into contact with classified information, but work in places where such data is present. Hiring a lot of people with foreign language skills, particularly languages found in the Middle East, often means taking on folks who were born in that part of the world. Since these translators will be working with potentially secret data, and they have often spent part of their lives in Moslem nations, makes the job to securing clearances for them that much harder. And these people need clearances as quickly as possible, because there is still a bottleneck with interrogating al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo Bay and in Afghanistan. And a lot more foreign language documents and electronic intercepts are being collected as well. A side effect of this is that it now takes up to twice as long (or more) for clearances to be obtained.


 


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