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Buried in Backlog, Feds Give Top-Secret Clearances to Murderers, Rapists, Pedophiles

The Defense Department has some 100,000 employees on temporary clearances awaiting full security reviews. PHOTO: McClatchy/Mass Communication Spec. 1st Class Deven B. King U.S. Navy

By Tim Johnson | 6 September 2017

McCLATCHY — Under a crushing backlog in the issuing or renewing of security clearances, federal authorities have given interim clearances to people they later discovered were murderers and pedophiles, a senior government official said Wednesday.

“This is very, very dangerous,” said Daniel E. Payne, head of the Defense Security Service, a federal office that oversees the granting of temporary clearances.

Payne said roughly 100,000 people hold interim clearances while working for companies with Defense Department contracts or at 13,000 cleared facilities and plants around the country and as they await a full comprehensive background investigation.

“I’ve got murderers who have access to classified information. I have rapists. I have pedophiles. I have people involved in child porn,” Payne said. “This is the risk we are taking.” […]

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