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Elected Officials & Security Clearance: Who Needs It and Why

Why Elected Officials Need Security Clearance

We all know our world has changed significantly in the 13 years since the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

Those attacks also resulted in the added need for security clearance for many elected officials on the local level, right down to mayors of cities. This need was brought to light recently with the news that New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio doesn’t have security clearance.

This means he can’t have access to classified information from the federal government, such as information from the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He’s recently been left out of meetings with FBI, Homeland Security, and White House officials about terrorist and Ebola threats, according to an October New York Post article.

He isn’t alone. The FBI denied the application for security clearance of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, The Washington Times reported in March. Hales applied for the clearance in his role as police commissioner to oversee police officers who were working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is a partnership between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the United States that monitors and investigates those suspected of terrorism or involvement with terrorist organizations. The task force also investigates wire fraud and identity theft cases.

“Not every elected official on the local level requires security clearance,” says Catie Young, who specializes in security clearance law. “But in a city such as New York City that has been a target for terrorist attacks on numerous occasions, it makes sense that the mayor would have clearance in order to gain access to information that can help protect the public.”

While DiBlasio doesn’t have clearance, he’s applying for it.

If you’re considering a run for office, you might check into whether you would need security clearance, should you be elected. The process is lengthy, but hiring an attorney who specializes in this area of law can help you navigate the process and potentially prevent any unnecessary delays.

Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.