“Security clearances are not mandated for the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, or other constitutional officers,” a recent Congressional Research Service report explains. “The criteria for election or appointment to these positions are specified in the U.S. Constitution, and except by constitutional amendment, no additional criteria (e.g., holding a security clearance) may be required.”
In fact, the security clearance system itself is an expression of presidential authority. Its scope and operation are defined in an executive order (EO 12968), and its terms can be modified by the President at will.
And if the President wished to grant access to classified information to a family member, for example, there would be no legal barrier to doing so. See “Trump Will Have Wide Latitude to Let Family Into Government’s Secret Circles” by Mark Landler, New York Times, November 16.
Americans with relatives in China have a vanishingly small chance of getting a security clearance, according to a new analysis by attorney Sheldon I. Cohen.
“Every year American citizens with family ties in China apply for security clearances, but for them the chances of getting a security clearance are remote. Winning the lottery has better odds. After an applicant spends the time, effort, and frequently the money to hire legal counsel, the result is virtually always the same — clearance denied.”
Given current realities, Cohen wrote, the government might as well “just issue a blanket policy statement that applicants with family ties in China will not be granted a security clearance. That would save not only the applicants, but also the American taxpayers the money wasted on hearings which virtually always have a predictable outcome.” See If You Have A Family Member in China — Chances of Getting a Security Clearance Are Remote by Sheldon I. Cohen, Fall 2016.
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.