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The sources said the briefings touched on two areas in which CIS employees don’t have access to needed information.

Up to 1,300 of the 4,000 immigration adjudicators who are supposed to have access to the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) database have been shut out of it. In some situations, the employees have failed to keep up their certification, while others haven’t had the appropriate background checks to maintain access.

The briefings also covered reports of 1,400 cases in which applicants for entry have shown up on TECS as part of a national security investigation. The special group of adjudicators deciding those cases can tell there is an investigation, but lack credentials to find out what the investigation is about, the sources said.

Because of turf battles, the internal-affairs bureau at CIS, whose employees can access the law-enforcement information, have been told not to intervene, the sources said.

Mr. Knocke said CIS is planning to expand access to TECS to speed up adjudication, but said there are already backup checks built in to make sure adjudicators have the information they need.

“We have redundancies in our system to assure there is no compromise of national security in the adjudication process,” he said.

As for the national security cases, he said, “CIS adjudicators are trained and empowered to determine how to, working with their supervisors, make a determination on a case in such a circumstance.”