"This report provides a primer on some of the fundamental aspects of the security clearance process, using a “Frequently Asked Questions” format.
A security clearance is a determination that an individual—whether a direct federal employee or a
private contractor performing work for the government—is eligible for access to classified
national security information. A security clearance alone does not grant an individual access to
classified materials. Rather, a security clearance means that an individual is eligible for access. In
order to gain access to specific classified materials, an individual should also have a demonstrated
“need to know” the information contained in the specific classified materials..."