A quick update on the security clearance debacle: I should have noted that, as the Washington Post reported, the Pentagon dug for change in its sofa cushions and came up with enough to cover the cost of investigating processing "Secret"-level clearance requests. Right on the eve of a Congressional hearing. What a coincidence.
But it won't help much: "Secret" clearances are among the lowest levels of classified access, just above "Confidential." Any project of serious intelligence or strategic value generally happens above the "Secret" level. To illustrate: according to the Post, the cost of a background investigation for a "Secret" clearance is just $156.
Also, as a couple readers pointed out, I should have noted in my post that only private contractor employees are affected by the OPM's move to abruptly curtail background investigations. It's a small comfort to know the government can still clear its own employees. However, many new operations -- indeed, even existing programs -- are being outsourced, in whole or in part, to private companies; and private companies are being called on to fill the legions of empty analyst seats at the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and elsewhere. So the band-aid doesn't quite cover the gaping wound.