The White House still has not formed an official stance on a bill that bans the federal government from rejecting security clearances required for employment at the CIA and NSA.
Progress on this front occurred in July 2021 when the FBI updated its hiring policies to consider candidates who had not consumed cannabis for one full year prior to their application date. Previously the agency demanded that candidates not consume cannabis for at least three years before applying.
Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) measure that forbids the federal government from declining employment security clearances for intelligence agencies due to prior marijuana use passed the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. The measure is now attached to the 2023 Intelligence Authorization Act, which needs to pass both chambers to reach the President’s desk.
“I applaud the committee for including my provisions, in particular an amendment ensuring that past cannabis use will not disqualify intelligence community applicants from serving their country,” Wyden, stated in a press release Thursday. “It’s a common-sense change to ensure the IC can recruit the most capable people possible.”
At a press briefing Thursday, a reporter asked John Kirby, National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Strategic Communication if the administration has seen the measure yet and has a position. “You’re going to have to let me take that question, sir. I don’t have anything for you on that,” replied Kirby, a former Pentagon spokesperson, and retired Navy Rear Admiral.
While provisions of the marijuana amendment are not public, they were partly presented in Sen. Wyden’s official press release.
The provisions include, “Prohibiting denial of a security clearance to IC personnel based solely on past use of cannabis.”
In the press release, Sen. Wyden says he “will continue to fight to ensure that ongoing cannabis use is not the basis for denying or losing a clearance.”
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