Sept 28, 2010
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding the number of employees with “secret” clearances to 10,000 — one sixth of the agency’s workforce.
TSA Administrator John Pistole, former FBI deputy director, believes that giving frontline workers greater access to intelligence will help stop terrorist attacks and make the public safer. The clearances give TSA employees access to information that has been classified as “secret” — information that is not put out for general distribution in the agency.
Speaking before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee, Pistole said “a key lesson I took from my 26 years at the FBI is that one of the best tools we possess in our effort to combat terrorism is accurate and timely intelligence. Our enemies constantly evolve their methods and their tools…and it’s our job to stay ahead of them.”
The agency has been slowly ramping up the number of employees with secret clearances from fewer than a thousand. It is expected to take two years to do the necessary background checks and paperwork on 10,000 explosive specialists, behavior detection officers, supervisory security officers and transportation security managers.