TheHill.com - Ex- convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance: "Under the law, members of the military services, employees of the Department of Defense or contractors working for the Pentagon cannot receive a security clearance if they were convicted of a crime in any U.S. court and went to prison for at least one year; if they are unlawful users of illegal substances; if they are considered mentally incompetent or if they were dishonorably discharged or dismissed from the armed forces. "
This has nothing to do with existing law limiting “... the ability of the Department to manage its security clearance program and may create unwarranted hardships for individuals who have rehabilitated themselves as productive and trustworthy citizens.” The DoD really isn't about forgiveness and rehabilitation.
I believe this is being driven by the private military contractors (PMCs). PMCs such as Blackwater who draw from a candidate pool of increasingly dubious quality. The current DoD security clearance standards force at least some hiring standards onto the PMCs.
I will agree that a guy who smoked pot in college has not demonstrated himself to be untrustworthy, we could change that. But someone with a year or more in prison? A service member who was dishonorably discharged? I'm sorry both of those are signs of both bad character and terrible judgment.
If you'd like to read a little more about PMC hijinks, this is a good link.
First seen on Wonkette.