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More cops hold top-secret clearances

Top secret clearances from the FBI are going to more state and local law enforcement officers, giving them more access to sensitive federal information in terrorist cases than at any time since the Sept. 11 attacks. That's according to a review of bureau records done by USA TODAY.

The article says that the number of clearances given to members of the FBI's network of regional terrorism task forces jumped to 878 in 2009, up from 125 in 2007 - "signaling intensified attention to domestic terror threats." Clearances for other law enforcement officers and contractors rose to 945 from 364 during that same time period.

Police officers said the clearance program has given them needed intelligence to terror inquiries. New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said the clearance "becomes a necessary requirement for work on classified cases."

By Dana Hedgpeth  |  August 13, 2010; 1:57 PM ET
 | Tags: Clearances, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Law Enforcement, Top Secret Clearances  
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And this is bad because?

Posted by: ThinBlueLine1 | August 13, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

And this is bad because ALL Police backgrounds are NOT thoroughly checked. The Good Olde Boy network has promoted a number of people who don't have the qualifications, ethics or morals to be Police Officer . Yet they have held on to jobs simply because of who the know. Case in Point: The former nominee for the Homeland Security Chief Job who was NOT Vetted even for his asst Commissioners job with the NYPD. capiche

Posted by: digtldesk | August 13, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

There are so many TS clearances in the US that its becoming a bit ridiculous. Oh, by the way, the FBI does a full scope background investigation when you get a TS clearance so they aren't just handing them out to any good ol boy with a badge...

Posted by: ozpunk | August 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

In another attempt to underscore the premise of an Intelligence Community "out of "control", Dana Post and William Arkin again provide datapoints with no supportive context. We are led to believe again that the increasing number of approved TS clearances is indicative of an IC wildly running amok. What they don't say is that this is a direct result of the counterterrorism strategies of both the Bush AND Obama administrations to push intelligence to local law enforcement, where our local police can synthesize (ie, "connect the dots") intel at the street level. The NYPD intel unit is in fact considered by many security/intel experts the model for other major local law enforcement entities to emulate. By linking these critical activities to the expansion of the IC without stating the results (positive and/or negative) of these actions, Post and Arkin again fail to provide the quality investigative reporting and analysis needed for their readers to make informed judgments.

Posted by: flyprowlers | August 13, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

From the article linked

"Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says some of the agency's officers with clearance authority assisted in the fast-moving May investigation into the unsuccessful bombing in New York's Times Square. Eight Boston officers have clearance, up from two or three in 2001.

"Prior to Sept. 11, this wouldn't have happened," Davis said. "Now, there is a feeling that we are right in the middle" of the war on terror.

Faisal Shahzad, arrested 53 hours and 20 minutes after the failed attack, pleaded guilty to the attempt in June."

So this is a GOOD thing.

Posted by: DarthVader | August 13, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Secrecy is a shameful problem in the U.S. Our government lies, cheats and in other ways is disfunctional but no one has accused it of telling us any of the secrets it holds. U.S. citizens don't really know what is going on with its government. If our government knew that the world was going to end tomorrow it wouldn't tell us. All we really get from our government is propaganda.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | August 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Thinblueline, why do you think the article is saying this is bad?

Personally, I agree with Vader that this is a good thing.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 13, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The term "Secret Police" isn't usually associated with thriving democracies.

Blurring the line between the CIA and local cops seems like a profoundly regrettable idea.

Posted by: kcx7 | August 13, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, Before all of you squirrels get wound up over this, we need local law enforcement assistance in stopping terrorist plots. ALL police officers holding TS clearances have been vetted through national intelligence and law enforcement authorities. KCX7 - Please get help! you are brain damaged!

Posted by: madmike272 | August 13, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

americans are pretty stupid... the cost of issuing and maintaining all these security clearances is huge...

government officials should be hung by their balls for not limiting all this security nonsense.

and everyone wants to lower the costs of government while we have imbeciles who have no sense about how to manage government organizations.

Posted by: FranknErnest | August 13, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Above TS America states

"the number of clearances given to members of the FBI's network of regional terrorism task forces jumped to 878 in 2009, up from 125 in 2007 - "signaling intensified attention to domestic terror threats." Clearances for other law enforcement officers and contractors rose to 945 from 364 during that same time period."

By way of context: there are 800,000 federal, state and local police officers in the US ( So now .118% of officers have clearances. A counterpoint to the "dramatic" growth in the numbers cited.

Posted by: Whit5918 | August 13, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. We can be just like East Germany when we grow up.

Just what we always wanted.

Posted by: awofw | August 13, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Clearance is a ritual the government engages in to increase the comfort level of government managers and agency chiefs. Those who are granted a security clearance have had their backgrounds dug into, neighbors and friends questioned, law enforcement/judicial system involvement, prison time, civil judgments, money management skills, and sexual practices evaluated. Those going for a higher level of clearance spend time strapped to chair with a machine monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin response, and breathing patterns. This exercise in falsehood detection is the ultimate in the government's arsenal for excluding people who may or may not deliver government secrets to "The Enemy." Works great. Klaus Fuchs handed the Soviet Union atomic secrets in near real-time. And he PASSED his security clearance. Costs a fortune and guarantees nothing. Also excludes good Americans who get nervous when hooked to a machine.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | August 13, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

This series is still trying to get traction?

When you decide that the War on Terror isn't a war but criminal actions but fear that releasing information might endanger people, then, duh, you get cops with TS clearances.

This isn't news. And certainly it isn't as scandalous as wikileaks....but hey, I guess it pays someones salary.

Posted by: mil1 | August 13, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

We are not saying that regular police should not be involved in these cases - these cases are nothing but criminal conspiracies, and not 'Top Secret'. Without the breathless fear-mongering that the entire intelligence and political communities are engaged in, these cases would be handled painlessly by existing law enforcement.

Posted by: smallcage | August 14, 2010 5:27 AM | Report abuse

This is small fry. Consider that senators and congressmen receive clearances because of being elected - not cleared.

The current president could not pass a basic background check for a clearance.

His ties to organized crime and terrorists alone would flunk him.

That is one of the biggest dangers our country faces. Not the clearances of law enforcement, analysts, and gatherers - but the obligatory clearances given to any America hating schmuck who can bs his or her way to victory in an election.

Especially when funded by a global turd like Soros - and its all legal.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | August 14, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Our every move is now documented and recorded. Sean Thibodeau at SusPack talks about the dangers of Facebook and how they are watching and recoding us. How we are moviing toward a cultural hegemony.

Facebook – Veni, Vidi, Vici!

Posted by: simplygeorge | August 15, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Dana and The Post, I appreciate your continued interest and follow up to your series, 'A Top Secret America'. I am also encouraged that the Obama Administration is now addressing, so quickly, the waste and redundancy within the government. What I would like to see the Post address is the criminal undertones and activities that some of these government contractors (which includes police) conduct and with the use of government funding. Thousand of Americans report offenses, torture and surveillance (organized stalking) by government entities and police. The community of victims reaches millions. This aspect should also be investigated. These contractors, local police and others have abused the systems and their top secret clearances. They have illegally access the lives of millions as stated by the United Inspector Generals reports of those who have been prosecuted which includes law enforcement and FBI agents, his own report. These contractors report from 8000 to 10,000 potential terrorist threats daily, per The Director of Intelligences Report on Post 9/11 'Question and Answers', 10,000 potential terrorist threats daily, really? Is this why children and elderly are appearing as ‘listed’ individuals and now on ‘no-fly’ government watch lists? Millions of innocent Americans are now 'listed, surveilled and harassed. These aspects should be investigated. The total government cuts should reach the Trillions, not billions. Thank you again for your continued follow up.

Posted by: dmiles1 | August 17, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The numbers of top secret clearances are bad because of the unfortunate use by this high number of rogue police and federal agents and how these individuals have come to use these clearances…to break the law. To invade the privacy of innocent Americans – needlessly and without justification. A number rogue federal agents and police officers that have been noted by the U.S. Inspector General report to congress and prosecuted. In addition the use of these clearances and the reporting of needless intelligence information as stated in the Director of Intelligence report entitled ‘Question and Answers’ Post 9/11 where is stated that the federal government receives from government and contractors 8000 to 10,000 pieces of terrorist threat information EACH DAY, enough that they do not have an opportunity to review it all. These are mostly U.S. citizens reported which included children, the elderly, deceased individual and millions of innocent Americans, all ‘listed’ as possible terrorist. Are we kidding here? The high number of these individuals who continually access the personal lives of Americans with their top secret clearances; via background checks, cell and landline phone records, risk-based analysis reporting and more, and all for the sake of ‘black-listing’ and GPS tracking innocent Americans. Why is this bad… because this information is being used to track survell and harass American citizens for the justification of continued millions or trillions of dollars in government funding? Read the Post report on the number of government contractors who conduct satellite tracking and weaponry development, most of these also provide training and Intel, Intel for what…on who? Then watch your night skies and the driver next to you or around you. Take note of the number of GPS tracking devices within our city limits (??) and across local highways, pay attention to who is paying attention to you. Redundancy, Waste, and for what?
And before you start responding to the comment regarding illegal GPS tracking devices used by government contractors and rogue federal agents, please do your research.

Posted by: dmiles1 | August 19, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

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