Roll Call: Tester, Pingree Push Clapper for Change to Protect Assault Victims

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, have sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. to urge him to eliminate a requirement in the security clearance process that forces survivors of sexual assault in the military to declare whether they sought counseling.

Without a permanent change, job applicants seeking security clearance would have to disclose whether they received mental-health counseling in response to sexual assault and, if so, allow a federal investigator full access to their health records. The two lawmakers worked to overturn the policy in April but say that because the government reversed course in a final version of the security clearance questionnaire this summer, they now are advocating for a permanent change.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this matter and reinstitute the explicit exemption for survivors of sexual assault,” Tester and Pingree wrote.