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Axios Sep 12
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The government's security clearance problem

Defense Secretary James Mattis attends a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"A government backlog of 700,000 security clearance reviews has led agencies like the Defense Department to inadvertently issue interim passes to criminals — even rapists and killers — fueling calls for better and faster vetting of people with access to the nation's secrets," AP's Deb Riechmann writes:

  • "It takes ... nine to 10 months for 'top-secret' clearance."
  • How it happened: "The backlog grew significantly after the government stopped doing business with a contractor that suffered a data breach in 2014. That depleted ... investigations by 60 percent."