A clearance mess

Regarding Federal Computer Week’s June 19 article, “Fed contractors want thorough overhaul of clearance processing”: Thank you for the article on security clearances and the long-standing problem of timely completion.

As a retired intelligence officer, I have been refused many employment opportunities or could not consider applying to positions simply because my clearance was automatically deactivated upon departure from active duty.

I have no problem with the requirement. But I find fault with a company’s and the federal government’s hiring process that cannot go beyond the automatic exclusion from consideration when it is obvious that a person held a high-level clearance and is trustworthy and should be eligible for easy reinstatement.

If a person made it through more than 20 years with no fault in character and continual upgrades in access, then why are companies and the federal government not able to authorize an interim clearance at the secret level to initiate employment?

I worked hard after retirement to return to college and get technical training at a master’s level in geographic information systems to provide me options in the civilian workforce. Now I have been basically unemployable for more than four years since graduation because of my higher level of education (two master’s degrees), my age, my search for employment in southern Mississippi and the New Orleans area and, in many cases, my lack of an active clearance.

All government agencies should be authorized to automatically provide an interim clearance option if an applicant has had a clearance at or above the requisite level for the advertised position. If the government can provide automatic interim secret clearances to every new military enlistee and commissioned officer, why can’t it provide support to those who already have experience and credibility in the use of and access to classified documents and communications?

If there is such a problem with backlogs of investigations, then why not hire retirees who are likely to be familiar with the information needed to assist in the field investigations or assist with the computer databases and scans across various agencies at the federal and state levels? This backlog is not new — it existed at least as far back as 1998.

However, in eight years with increased computer technology, with the experience and knowledge of military retirees and disabled veterans, and with workers continuing to seek employment later in life because a person cannot live on Social Security or in the economic climate of many states, there should be solutions readily available without continued research and studies.

Perhaps it is not the technology but the bureaucracy of the agencies that oversee the programs, the technology and the access to necessary data that need to be fixed.

Deborah Callender

Lincoln County, Mont.

More Real ID issues

Regarding Federal Computer Week’s June 26 story, “A real hard act to follow”: Another aspect of the Real ID Act is that states must implement a single database for birth/death registrations. This also puts a strain on state budgets without remuneration from the federal government.

If birth records are handed out without identification to anyone who applies for the documents, the license bureau is back where it started.

As usual, the federal government has forged ahead without asking the people who work in the agencies what they believe might work.

Janet A. Westendorf,

Birth/Death Records,

Fort Wayne-Allen County, Ind., Health Department

Historical corrections

Regarding Federal Computer Week’s July 10 FlipSide piece, “Welcoming new citizens,” your answer — or the agency Web site’s answer — for how the Constitution can be changed is less than correct.

The voters have no direct vote. It is either via congressional action with ratification by the legislatures of the several states, or via direct constitutional convention called into session by the several states. The latter has never happened, and the powers that be would doubtless try to get the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate any changes made that way.

Any influence the voters have is limited to voting out the representatives who acted contrary to their wishes.

A. E. Meijers

Give me liberty…

I’m somewhat surprised by the question for prospective citizens about who said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

There has long been speculation by some historians that the actual quote is not from Patrick Henry but was later ascribed to him by William Wirt decades after the actual speech.

Although most Americans will associate Patrick Henry with this quote, there are many other substantiated historical events from which to make a test.

Name withheld by request

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