Security Clearance Changes and Confusion in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (the “Act”) effected one of the most significant changes since 1947 in the organization of the intelligence community. Title III of the Act reorganized the entire national security clearance system, although the subject received practically no attention in public discussion during the 9/11 Commission hearings. Because this change was not fully explored in either the House or Senate hearings or during floor debate, Title III includes contradictory provisions concerning the assignment of responsibilities for security clearance policies and procedures.

Lead Author

Sheldon I. Cohen
Sheldon I. Cohen has provided legal representation in national security law, private employment law, and government employment law since 1964. As a security clearance lawyer, he has advised and represented individuals and companies on issues of security clearances, polygraphs and the protection of classified national security information before virtually every intelligence and defense agency, including the CIA, DIA, NSA, NRO, NGIA, FBI and Department of Defense, in hearings before the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals and in the Federal Courts. Mr. Cohen was the American Bar Association lawyer-representative in the development of Executive Order 12968 concerning Access to Classified Information. He was also the ABA lawyer-representative during the amendment of the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act. He has lectured on security clearance law and security clearance practices, and is the author of numerous publications in the field including: Security Clearances and the Protection of National Security Information, Law and Procedures, published by the Department of Defense, Personnel Security Research Center (Copies available from the U.S. National Technical Information Center).
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