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."