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'Top secret' security clearance required for archivist job at Obama Library

An aerial view of Washington Park, a possible sight of future Obama Presidential Center. | Lee Hogan/Sun-Times library

WASHINGTON — If you want to be one of the first people to work at the Obama presidential library, you will need a “top secret” security clearance.

The National Archives and Records Administration — the federal agency that will run the library part of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago — is hiring an archives technician.

The salary range is $34,759 to $50,374 per year. The job will start in Washington and eventually move to Chicago once the building is ready to be occupied — which may be earlier than when it is open to the public.

The Chicago-based Obama Foundation is sifting through 140 applications from architecture firms competing to design the complex to house a library, museum, foundation offices, meeting spaces and more.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle still have to decide on the specific South Side Chicago site: Washington Park or Jackson Park. The Center is not expected to be open until 2020 or later.

The job, according to the NARA job listing, calls for a person to “perform archival duties involving reference, arrangement, description, evaluation, preservation, and rehabilitation, of classified and unclassified historical materials in the Office of Presidential Libraries in Washington, DC, preparing for the opening of the Barack H. Obama Presidential Library and Museum located in Chicago, IL.”

The security clearance needed is “top secret” for what is known in the trade as “Sensitive Compartmented Information.”

The technician will work under an archivist. Part of the job is to, according to the announcement, “perform archival duties involving reference, arrangement, description, evaluation, preservation and rehabilitation, of classified and unclassified historical materials.”

The security clearance is needed because the technician will be required to “identify and withdraw from files materials containing security classified information and documents the withdrawal. Identify and withdraw from files other materials located during processing which may be restricted for reasons other than national security.”

Interested? Applications can be submitted beginning today through Oct. 7.