A Department of Defense agency tasked with investigating personnel for security clearances said Friday that government contractors who work on top secret projects won’t find their clearances in jeopardy if they petition the White House to allow their states to secede from the U.S.
The Defense Security Service (DSS) wrote in a Nov. 16 bulletin to government contractors that “erroneous statements have been made to the effect that DSS is directing contractors to treat the signing of such petitions as reportable adverse information.” (RELATED: White House ‘secede’ petitions reach 675,000 signatures, 50-state participation)
By “adverse information,” the agency means personal information that could lead the federal government to cancel — or to not renew — a “secret,” “top secret,” “Sensitive Compartmented Information” or other clearance level.
Many government contracts require companies to task sensitive work to citizens who have undergone extensive background checks and receive such clearances.
DSS is responsible for ensuring that contractors follow rules outlined in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual. That guidebook requires contractors to report to the Defense Department when they learn that a cleared employee has made “suspicious contacts,” becomes a “representative of a foreign interest,” or otherwise could be “compromised.”
The Pentagon agency did, however, leave its options open regarding petition signers.
“Please note,” the agency cautioned, “that DSS has not provided any approved direction or guidance. … This issue is under review and DSS will provide information to contractors when that review is complete.”