Sample Letter #1 for Public Citizens

Dear Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman __________

The Department of State announced its intention to upgrade its 1200 Passport Specialists’ security clearance levels from High Risk Public Trust to Secret. Many employees risk losing their jobs as a result of the Department of State’s intention to unnecessarily upgrade security clearances.

By forcing bargaining unit employees to upgrade their security clearances, the Department of State seeks unchecked power to deprive employees of the protection and rights that Congress granted them in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. I urge you to request the Department of State reveal the expense and specific basis for Passport Specialists’ security upgrades.

Secret clearances are reserved for those who deal with classified material.  Passport Specialists do not have access to any classified information and do not work with matters of intelligence.

In fiscal year 2011, the federal government spent over $1 billion conducting background investigations. Money and resources will be wasted when the Department of State conducts unnecessary background investigations on Passport Specialists.  It is troubling that the Department of State refuses to reveal the expense of their proposed clearance upgrades.

In addition to requesting the expense and specific basis for security clearance upgrades from the Department of State, we would also like you to support legislation HR 3278 (sponsored by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton)/S 1809 (sponsored by Senator Jon Tester).  These bills would clarify that workers or applicants are entitled to be heard by the Merit Systems Protection Board even if it implicates a sensitive position determination.

I know that federal budgets are tight and I believe it is fiscally irresponsible of the Department of State to initiate an unnecessary, expensive upgrade.  I appreciate your help on this important issue.

Thank you,