A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access toclassified information (state or organizational secrets) or to restricted areas, after completion of a thoroughbackground check. The term "security clearance" is also sometimes used in private organizations that have a formal process to vet employees for access to sensitive information. A clearance by itself is normally not sufficient to gain access; the organization must also determine that the cleared individualneeds to know specific information. No one is supposed to be granted automatic access to classified information solely because of rank, position, or a security clearance.
In the United States, a security clearance is an official determination that an individual may access informationclassified by the United States Government. Security clearances are hierarchical; each level grants the holder access to information in that level and the levels below it. The clearance process requires a background investigation and the signing of a nondisclosure agreement. Access to any particular piece of information requires "need-to-know." In some cases, this requirement is only nominal, as some classified information is widely published on secure networks. In other cases, there is a formal need-to-know determination. In addition to such a determination, Special Access Programs and Sensitive Compartmented Information may require additional investigation and adjudication of the prospective clearance holder.
The Security Heirarchy may be roughly outlined as follows:
Public Trust Position
There are levels of security that are themselves secured or classified information.
While on active duty in the United States Air Force, I held a Top Secret security clearances and passed through all of the required background checks conducted by the law enforcement and intelligence agencies having jurisdiction in routine military personnel security clearances...
There is no security limitation imposed upon the President of the United States.
The ultimate irony here is that Trump wouldn't pass the background check for the security clearance needed to fulfill the roll of a county dog catcher or municipal garbage collector.
Today, I probably would not survive the background checks I passed with flying colors when I wore a younger man's clothes....