Recent events have pushed to the forefront a discussion on eligibility rights within the context of a security clearance. Those of us who enjoy or have enjoyed the trust of the nation by virtue of being granted a security clearance, understand the long and arduous path traveled from application to clearance granted. In addition, each knows that these are not once and done affairs, where the government says, “Here’s your clearance,” and you’re good for life. Instead of the reinvestigation cycle, now there is the continuous evaluation which takes place, 24/7/365. In all instances, the “trusted individual” is being constantly evaluated to determine if this individual remains “suitable” to retain the security clearance and eligible to access classified information.

FBI says three are not eligible.

Three FBI employees had their security clearances pulled during the past nine months by the FBI for a variety of factors. Though the FBI administrative action has percolated up into political theater, based on reporting from the Washington Post, the FBI’s internal process was both thorough and fair. Some may say it was overly fair, given the length of time it took for the FBI to reach their decisions. It is important to note that the three individuals have the right to appeal against the decision.

Multiple letters have found their way into the media stream from the FBI. One letter was crafted by acting assistant director Christopher Dunham which was written to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in response to a request from the “Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.” Then there is a letter crafted by executive assistant director of human resources, Jennifer Moore which was sent directly to Stephen Friend, one of the FBI employees whose clearance was suspended.

Marcus Allen eligibility?

The FBI suspended Allen’s security clearance in January 2022 and revoked his clearance on May 3, 2023. The FBI security office opened their investigation into the eligibility of Allen to retain his security clearance following a referral from FBI Charlotte Field Office. The FBI  calls into question his “allegiance to the United States.” Dunham continued how Allen had, ““failed to provide relevant information to an FBI Special Agent (SA) regarding subjects who were allegedly involved in criminal activity at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Stephen Friend eligibility?

The FBI suspended Friend’s security clearance in September 2022. In the letter to Friend from Moore, she advises Friend, “The security concerns stem from your refusal to execute a court-ordered, arrest warrant, unauthorized download of sensitive FBI information, failure to participate in a Security Awareness Briefing, unauthorized dissemination of sensitive FBI information, unauthorized recording of executive management, unsanctioned interviews with the media, and lack of candor during an interview with the Security Division.”

Brett Gloss eligibility?

Glosses security clearance was revoked by the FBI following an investigation which stemmed from a referral made by the FBI Washington Field Office. The Dunham letter notes, “Gloss “knowingly entered a restricted zone around the U.S. Capitol (on January 6, 2021).” That he, Gloss, “was present in an area close to protestors clashing with Capitol Police.” And Dunham continued, “The FBI reviewed communications in which Mr. Gloss expressed support for the protestors’ unauthorized entry into the Capitol building and support for their criminal acts against the U.S.”

Teixeira Eligibility?

Then we have the United States Air Force Airman who has been indicted for unauthorized sharing of classified information, and we learn from court documents, Airman Jack Teixeira had previously been reprimanded for mishandling classified materials. Indeed, the reprimand noted that Teixeira was discovered copying classified materials onto a notepad. We later learned that he would take this information and share it with his Discord group, where he paraphrased the classified documents he had accessed in the classified workspace.

Security Eligibility: A privilege, not a right

A national security clearance is not a right, and there is nothing automatic about its issuance. It is provided to individuals who continually display that they are both suitable and able to protect the sensitive information to which they have or may have access.


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Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of