"The number of persons who held security clearances for access to classified information last year exceeded 4.2 million — far more than previously estimated — according to a new intelligence community report to Congress (pdf)."OPM says there are 2.756 million federal employees, and a total of 4.403 million legislative, executive and military branch employees. I never had a security clearance, either in the Army or in USDA, but the figures imply that the average person in government does. Why, for goodness sake? I can see the law enforcement branches, but not much else.
I hope the figures are wrong. I hope what's going on is that the data bases of security clearances aren't being purged very well when people leave the government. Or is it the case that: once cleared, always cleared, and leaving government doesn't cancel the clearance.