How many people in the world own the actual state of 'Q Clearance', the authority to access the highest confidential information of nuclear weapons?

There are various ranks of security clearances that allow access to sensitive information from the US Department of Energy. Among them, '

Q Clearance ' is the security authority that allows access to the most confidential information including the design information of nuclear weapons. Professor Alex Wellerstein, who studies the history of nuclear weapons at Stevens Institute of Technology, explains how many people in the world have this Q clearance.

How many people have Q Clearance? | Restricted Data

The Department of Energy's security clearance was defined by the Nuclear Act of 1954. The information that can be accessed in each security clearance is called Restricted Data (RD) and is classified into Highest Confidential Restricted Data (TSRD), Confidential Restricted Data (SRD), Old Restricted Data (FRD), and National Security Information (NSI) according to the content. Will be done. Q Clearance is a rank that gives you access to all restricted data, as well as information such as nuclear weapons design information.

Below is a table showing the security ranks and the restricted data that can be accessed. There are five security clearances, Q, Top Secret, L, Secret, and Confidential, of which Q Clearance can access all information including TSRD and SRD.

Ignoring this security clearance, if you transmit, send, or disclose information including restricted data such as documents, memos, sketches, photographs, plans, models, equipment, and equipment to others, it will cost $ 20,000 (about 2.3 million yen). The Nuclear Law stipulates that the following fines, imprisonment for 20 years or more, and life imprisonment will be imposed if this is done as an act of interest to a foreign country.

The Nuclear Law defines restricted data classification and security clearance in the wake of the ' Guzenco Incident .' The Gusenko case is a case in which Igor Gusenko, a cryptographic secretary of the Soviet embassy in Canada, went into exile in the United States in 1945 with documents showing that the Soviet Union had stolen information on the US nuclear development plan. As a result, in order to strictly control information related to nuclear development, the Nuclear Law has come to thoroughly manage information.

It is a mysterious sound that the clearance with the highest access authority is 'Q', but according to Professor Wellerstein, it does not have a particularly deep meaning. This 'Q' is the security rank 'P' 'S' 'Q' that can be applied from the PSQ (preliminary investigation) form when the US Atomic Energy Commission takes over the management of nuclear facilities from the military immediately after the end of World War II. It seems that it is a remnant divided into three stages. Professor Wellerstein said, 'Q is not a secret mysterious name, it's just a procedural name. Like many secrets, reality is far more boring once you know what it is. '.

When Professor Wellerstein asked the Ministry of Energy about the number of owners of such Q clearance based on the Information Disclosure Law, the following answers were returned.

April 2018: 87,113 people
April 2019: 90,454 people
April 2020: 98,103 people
April 2021: 92,177 people

According to Professor Wellerstein, the number of owners of Top Secret Clearance, which is one rank lower than Q Clearance, is 850,000 as of 2011, and up to 1.25 million as of 2019. This means that at least one in 300 Americans has Top Secret clearance. Therefore, Professor Wellerstein analyzes that this number is reasonable considering that the owners of Q clearance are about 10% of the owners of Top Secret clearance.

Professor Wellerstein notes that the number of Q Clearance owners tended to increase from 2018 to 2020, but in 2021 it decreased by 6,000 at a stretch. However, since no further data has been released, it seems that it is not clear why the number of Q Clearance owners is increasing or decreasing.

in Note, Posted by log1i_yk