Rep. Kelly Introduces Enhanced Security Clearance Act of 2014

Bill would prevent high-risk figures like Edward Snowden,
Bradley Manning, Nidal Hasan, and Aaron Alexis
from gaining security clearance

Introduced on first anniversary of DC Navy Yard shooting

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today after introducing H.R. 5482, the Enhanced Security Clearance Act of 2014, in the House of Representatives. The legislation will enhance the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) background check system for the granting, denial, or revocation of security clearances or access to classified information of employees and contractors of the federal government. In particular, the bill will update government background checks to include an applicants’ publicly available electronic data including social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. Similar bipartisan legislation has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and is being sponsored by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

Rep. Kelly:

“It is long past time for our government’s hiring office to catch up with the present in order to catch and prevent future threats to our nation’s wellbeing. Because of OPM’s outdated practices, nefarious characters with security clearances have been able to obtain and maintain employment within our government, which has ultimately resulted in tragedy and treason. This bill will help stop the Snowdens, Mannings, Hasans, and Alexis’s of the world from holding any federal job that could be abused at the expense of our national defense. Especially in light of today’s anniversary of the Navy Yard shooting, it is critical that we remember the grave costs of security-related oversights and do not hesitate to take obvious and overdue action to save American lives.”

Associated Press on Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter, September 24, 2013:

“The gaps in his record eventually allowed him to work in the secure Navy building where he gunned down 12 workers … underscoring weaknesses with the clearance process.”

Geoffrey Andrews, Chief Operating Officer, Social Intelligence:

“Social media and publicly available electronic information provide unique perspective and deep insight into an individual’s character and judgment, complimenting traditional data sources; this kind of information should be central to any security clearance screening. The opportunities for improving our existing security clearance processes are well documented, and the Enhanced Security Clearance Act of 2014 is a concrete step toward taking advantage of new technologies, analytics and data sources to improve national security. This bill will not only advance security clearance processes, but facilitate the creation of new technology centered jobs focused on implementing these enhancements. Our office and team in Grove City, Pennsylvania will be at the forefront of innovation as we strive to support this critical mission.”