Federal employees shouldn’t be at risk of losing or being denied a security clearance due to circumstances related to the Coronavirus, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, of Virginia, has said.
In a letter to OPM and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Warner said that employees may be required to self-quarantine or tend to family members, “which in may cause them miss payments on things like rent, mortgage, credit cards, or other forms of debt.
“This could impact their credit scores and jeopardize their ability to secure or maintain a clearance or hold a position of trust. The problem is particularly acute for younger workers who lack a long credit history. Psychological strain can naturally accompany such circumstances, exacerbating the situation,” he wrote.
“While I understand that departments and agencies may already have certain discretion to consider broader contextual factors that may affect personnel vetting decisions, I ask you to issue clear and public guidance to ensure that departments and agencies do not penalize employees’ clearances or determinations of trustworthiness due to circumstances associated with COVID-19 This guidance should apply to any information used in an initial clearance, a periodic reinvestigation, or a continuous evaluation/vetting program,” he wrote.
A similar issue came up during the partial shutdown of 2018 – 2019:
Possible Reassurance on Security Clearance Impact of Shutdown