More Than 4.2 Million Security Clearances Held in U.S.


More than 4.2 million people were granted security clearance in 2010.

According to a recent report to Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, more than 4.2 million people held security clearances from the U.S. government in the last fiscal year, a rate much higher than previously estimated, The Associated Press reports.

Of those, more than 666,000 government workers and more than 524,000 federal contractors hold Top Secret clearances.

This report is mandated by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010, which was made public law on October 7, 2010. Each fiscal year, a bill is passed that spells out exactly what must be shared with the public regarding intelligence-related activities. In stipulations spelled out in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), the federal government was tasked with improving the processes involved with granting security clearances.

"Significant progress has been made on overall initiatives to meet IRTPA requirements, not only through the use of additional resources but also through improvements in policy, processes, and information technology," the report stated.

The report on 2010 activities also examined how long various agencies within the government took to grant clearances for those in defense jobs, intelligence jobs and other positions, which are based on background investigations.

According to the Post, the number of people with security clearance was estimated at 2.4 million in 2009.