U.S. to open new vetting agency for 'secret' security clearances

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will open the doors next week to a new agency, with stronger data protections, meant to shorten by many weeks the time it takes to vet government workers seeking “secret” and “top secret” security clearances. The National Background Investigations Bureau will be headed by Charles Phalen, who has worked as a security executive at the CIA, the FBI and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, officials said on Thursday on a conference call with reporters. The bureau will replace an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) clearance system that was hit by hackers who stole potentially sensitive personal data on as many as 22 million people, including government employees and job applicants.

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