The Atlantic reports (courtesy of Registan blogger Joshua Foust) of a recent job posting for agricultural specialists, security clearance required. It points to the dramatic increase in recent years for the need for individuals in a variety of occupations to hold security clearances – from executive assistants and janitorial crews working in cleared facilities to, in this case, farmers deploying to help native populations in combat zones. As the Atlantic notes there’s good reason for individuals deploying to locations like Iraq and Afghanistan to have clearances – sensitive information is on the line and individuals working alongside deployed troops and in secure facilities will most definitely have unique access.
The need for farmers with security clearances also points to the increase number of security clearances issued in recent years. The number of clearances has become so significant, in fact, that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is having trouble coming up with the exact number, according to reports from Secrecy News. While the director of the ODNI special security center stated in a Capitol Hill briefing that they would divulge the number of security clearances held sometime after the first of this year, the figure has yet to be disclosed.
Secrecy News reports that ODNI will still provide the number – but will include it as a part of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010, which required disclosure of the total number of clearances. All of this leads to the conclusion that keeping tabs on exactly how many security clearances have been issued and are active is easier said than done. A 2010 GAO report estimates the number at 2.5 million, but only ODNI knows for sure.