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US imposes sanctions on 271 Employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) over Syrian Government’s Chemical Attack

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A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, April 4, 2017. VOA
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Washington, Apr 25, 2017: The US slapped sanctions on 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in response to Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, media reports said.

The employees of SSRC, a Syrian government agency, are designated for their role in “developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them,” Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the US Treasury Department on Monday.

“These 271 SSRC employees have expertise in Chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012,” it added.

As a result of the action, any property or interest of the designated persons in the US must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

The sanctions are part of Washington’s response to what it believed the April 4 sarin attack on innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in east Syria by the Syrian government.

Two days after the alleged chemical attack, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase to neutralize its chemical weapon arsenal.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that with Monday’s sanctions, the US is sending a strong message that it would “hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations”.  (IANS)

 

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)