June 28, 2005

WHouse budget office to oversee security clearance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Tuesday issued anexecutive order to put the White House Office of Management andBudget in charge of security clearances to cut back on delays,in response to last year's intelligence overhaul law.

A provision in the law, which created a new director ofnational intelligence and sought to reform a system harshlycriticized after the Sept. 11 attacks, required Bush to selectan agency or office to oversee security clearances forgovernment employees.

"We will work with the other agencies to make thesecurity-clearance process more efficient, more timely, moreeffective," said Sarah Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Office ofManagement and Budget.

Another key goal was to "improve reciprocity," to make iteasier for employees with security clearances from onegovernment agency to work at another, she said.

The Office of Management and Budget's role will be toconduct oversight and streamline the security clearanceprocess, but other agencies were expected to continueconducting background checks and other functions, anadministration official said.