Flake calls for review of security clearance backlog


Jeff Flake is pictured. | Getty Images

“This current situation shouldn’t continue,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said of the backlog. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Sunday raised concerns about the security clearance backlog in the government.

“There are signs it does need to be reviewed,” Flake said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think we’re going to have to talk about that with the Judiciary Committee, certainly in the Senate.”

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Flake is a member of that committee.

More than 700,000 people are waiting to have their government clearances processed, according to a report from U.S. Comptroller Gene Dodaro. The Government Accountability Office late last month added the clearance process to its high-risk list of “federal areas in need of either broad-based transformation or specific reforms to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.”

Senate Democrats wrote a letter last week asking for an investigation of security clearance procedures under President Donald Trump. The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reportedly still working with an interim clearance.

“To have so many, dozens of people who are on an interim clearance over an extended period of time that are certainly viewing and considering classified material is a problem,” Flake said. “This current situation shouldn’t continue.”

Questions have also been raised about former White House aide Rob Porter, who resigned last week after news broke of allegations by his ex-wives of domestic abuse. Reports indicate he was granted an interim clearance.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), on ABC’s “This Week,” expressed worry that Porter was allowed to see classified documents even though he had been denied a full security clearance.

“The idea that someone without a security clearance was allowed to be there in the first place, despite these allegations, and was allowed to stay there with no plan for getting him a clearance, is not the normal process,” Maloney said.


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