Lawmakers Want Answers on 'Unacceptable' Security Clearance Backlog

Lawmakers pitted agency officials against each other on Wednesday in an effective debate to see which government organization is better equipped to oversee the security clearance process for federal employees.

The responsibility for conducting investigations currently falls on the newly formed National Background Investigations Bureau, a subagency within the Office of Personnel Management, but the Defense Department submitted a plan to Congress in August for taking over the process for its own employees, which make up a majority of the total checks. Some say the Defense plan will help reduce a backlog of more than 700,000people awaiting investigations, but others say it would worsen the problem by spreading already limited resources too thin.

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