B-197006.OM, B-205172.OM, AUG 9, 1982

B-197006.OM,B-205172.OM: Aug 9, 1982

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DIGEST: DIRECTOR OF OSS QUESTIONS WHETHER GAO IS BOUND BY EXECUTIVE ORDERS 12356 AND 10450 WHICH GOVERN THE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION PROGRAM AND ISSUANCE OF SECURITY CLEARANCES TO EMPLOYEES. BECAUSE GAO IS A LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGENCY. IT IS TECHNICALLY NOT BOUND BY THESE EXECUTIVE ORDERS WHICH ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. ALSO GAO IS REQUIRED BY STATUTE TO FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES IN CERTAIN INSTANCES. 31 U.S.C. QUESTIONING WHETHER GAO IS BOUND BY THE REQUIREMENTS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 12356 (FORMERLY 12065) GOVERNING THE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION PROGRAM AND EXECUTIVE ORDER 10450 GOVERNING THE GRANTING OF ACCESS AUTHORIZATIONS (CLEARANCES) FOR GAO EMPLOYEES. THIS OFFICE IS A LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGENCY AND THEREFORE IT IS TECHNICALLY NOT BOUND BY THE ABOVE CITED EXECUTIVE ORDERS WHICH BY THEIR TERMS ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS.

B-197006.OM, B-205172.OM, AUG 9, 1982

SUBJECT: APPLICABILITY OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO GAO'S INFORMATION SECURITY PROGRAM AND GAO'S AUTHORITY TO ISSUE ACCESS AUTHORIZATIONS - B-197006 O.M. AND B-205172-O.M. DIGEST: DIRECTOR OF OSS QUESTIONS WHETHER GAO IS BOUND BY EXECUTIVE ORDERS 12356 AND 10450 WHICH GOVERN THE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION PROGRAM AND ISSUANCE OF SECURITY CLEARANCES TO EMPLOYEES, RESPECTIVELY. BECAUSE GAO IS A LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGENCY, IT IS TECHNICALLY NOT BOUND BY THESE EXECUTIVE ORDERS WHICH ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. HOWEVER, IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY, GAO SHOULD FOLLOW THESE ORDERS AS A MATTER OF POLICY. ALSO GAO IS REQUIRED BY STATUTE TO FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES IN CERTAIN INSTANCES. 31 U.S.C. SEC. 53 AND 54. THE AUTHORITY FOR GAO TO ISSUE CLEARANCES STEMS FROM EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN 31 U.S.C. SEC. 52-2.

DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF SECURITY AND SAFETY - ARTHUR A. KLEKNER:

THIS RESPONDS TO YOUR MEMORANDA DATED OCTOBER 9 AND NOVEMBER 17, 1981, QUESTIONING WHETHER GAO IS BOUND BY THE REQUIREMENTS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 12356 (FORMERLY 12065) GOVERNING THE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION PROGRAM AND EXECUTIVE ORDER 10450 GOVERNING THE GRANTING OF ACCESS AUTHORIZATIONS (CLEARANCES) FOR GAO EMPLOYEES.

THIS OFFICE IS A LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGENCY AND THEREFORE IT IS TECHNICALLY NOT BOUND BY THE ABOVE CITED EXECUTIVE ORDERS WHICH BY THEIR TERMS ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS. HOWEVER, IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY, THE GUIDELINES IN THOSE ORDERS SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY OUR OFFICE AS A MATTER OF POLICY. FURTHERMORE, IN CERTAIN INSTANCES CONGRESS HAS DIRECTED THIS OFFICE TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES SET FORTH IN THESE EXECUTIVE ORDERS. SEE FOR EXAMPLE 31 U.S.C. SEC. 53(F)(5) AND 31 U.S.C. SEC. 54(E). ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE SHOULD FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF THESE TWO EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO THE EXTENT FEASIBLE. THE OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL SHOULD BE CONSULTED IN ANY CASE WHERE DEVIATION IS CONSIDERED NECESSARY.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR QUESTION CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY OF THIS OFFICE TO ISSUE ACCESS AUTHORIZATIONS, SUCH AUTHORITY IS INHERENT IN THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S AUTHORITY TO APPOINT EMPLOYEES AND PROMULGATE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THEIR CONDUCT CONTAINED IN 31 U.S.C. SEC. 52-2.