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Chambliss: US Intel Panel in Early Stages of Crafting Contractor-Access Bill

Jul. 2, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
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WASHINGTON — Legislation restricting private-sector employees’ access to classified national security data has yet to take shape, said a senior US Senate Intelligence Committee member.

Panel Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters June 13 that she intends to craft legislation to limit private-sector contractors’ access to some sensitive data.

“We will certainly have legislation which will limit or prevent contractors from handling highly classified technical data,” Feinstein said. “And there will be some other things.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the panel’s ranking member, told Defense News last Thursday the legislation is still taking shape.

Depending on the nature of the restrictions, the bill could affect security firms’ business models if it severely limits the kinds of data non-government employees can access.

But Chambliss indicated an actual bill remains weeks or months away.

Asked if the committee intends to hold hearings to help inform Feinstein’s promised legislation, Chambliss said, “Oh, we’re not even to that point yet.”

Members interviewed by Defense News since then-Booz Allen Hamilton IT worker Edward Snowden in late May leaked details of two highly sensitive security programs say they are reluctant to mandate that some jobs now being done by private-sector employees be transitioned to government positions.

And most seem undecided on how to ensure classified data remains secret given how large the private-sector intelligence realm has grown since 9/11.

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