The Boeing employees did initially have the “Yankee White” security clearances, but in some cases, the clearances had expired years ago. The oldest clearance expired seven years ago, Boeing said. The lapse involves about 250 Boeing employees, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
An Air Force spokeswoman said the military branch and Boeing are looking into why the airplane manufacturer did not submit the credentials in question for renewal. The affected employees had maintained their underlying top-secret security clearances, but tighter credentials are also required for presidential security.
“The Air Force is taking the situation very seriously and believes the Boeing Company is making every effort to quickly resolve this issue,” the Air Force spokeswoman said.
Boeing first notified the Pentagon of the issue on March 14, shortly after it discovered the security lapse during a records review of its employees. The staff who were affected were temporarily suspended, but most were eligible for the clearance again as of Sunday, a Boeing spokesperson said.
Staff members whose clearances are still pending can still work on the aircraft in the restricted sections if a current employee with the proper documents escorts and vouches for them, sources said.
The Air Force said the operations on the future Air Force One fleet were not halted over the documentation issue, and there was no impact on the aircraft’s schedule. The first of the two new planes is set to be delivered by September 2027.