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Clearance Levels are used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep order in their system and protect information that is protected by S.H.I.E.L.D. Clearance levels both denoted the level of information an agent was allowed to have access to as well as their basic rank within S.H.I.E.L.D. An agent's clearance level is not based on how long they have been apart of the agency. If an agent dislikes their current position, they usually have the option to demote themselves in rank. There are 10 levels of clearance. When Phil Coulson became Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he eliminated the clearance level system.
Clearance level 1 has the least access in S.H.I.E.L.D. and agents assigned to this level usually get job technical, maintenance, or secretarial jobs. If an agent has lost the trust of multiple agents for a serious matter, they can be reduced back to level 1.
- Skye - S.H.I.E.L.D. agent; Computer hacker.
Current information unknown
Agents with level 3 access usually get jobs in administration to sort files for S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May reduced herself back to this position temporarily because of a traumatic experience from her past.
For clearance level 4 and above, agents must be in good physical condition for hand to hand combat.
- Katherine Shane - Undercover specialist.
Most level 5 agents are scientists, researchers and mechanics. This is usually the highest a rank a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist can get.
- Leo Fitz - Weapons, gadgets, and cutting edge technology; Engineer.
- Jemma Simmons - Life scientist; Xeno-biologist (both human and alien); Bio-chemist.
Level 6 agents mainly do espionage and combat. This level usually requires going into battles without full information on the mission.
- Antoine Triplett - Combat Specialist.
- Eric Koenig - Communications agent; Stationed at hidden base Providence. †
- Billy Koenig - Stationed at secret base Playground.
- Brock Rumlow - Leader of Strike; Black ops specialist.
- Jack Rollins - Member of Strike; Black ops specialist.
- Cale - Field agent.
- Garrett - Field agent.
- Jackson - Espionage agent.
Clearance level 7 agents also specialize in espionage and combat, getting much more of information than most level 6 agents, including details on Phil Coulson's "staged" death prior to the Battle of New York. Maria Hill mentions that the Avengers are not Level 7, however, Steve Rogers is Level 8.
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow - Assassin and undercover spy; Founding member of the Avengers. (Off the Grid)
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye - Assassin and skilled marksman with an exceptional ability in archery; Founding member of the Avengers.
- Melinda May - Expert pilot and Combat Specialist.
- Grant Ward - Combat and Espionage Specialist.
- John Garrett - Combat Specialist and also known as the "Clairvoyant", prototype Deathlok. †
- Felix Blake - Espionage agent.
- Jasper Sitwell - Espionage agent. †
Clearance level 8 gives agents more access to information that could risk the lives of agents in lower clearance levels. Captain Rogers was given quick access to this level after his endeavors in World War II and the Battle of New York.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - Super Soldier and former Field operative. Leader and founding member of the Avengers. (Off the Grid)
- Victoria Hand - Director of the Hub. †
Level 9 Agents have access to most of the agency's files and generally hold a high rank. They will also know of high ranking projects, secrets and missions about SHIELD. The Level 9's know several important things connected to other agents in lower ranks.
S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives in level 10 have the most access to the world's most important files and secrets. These operatives hold the highest rank in the agency.
Access to information on the following
- Complete transcript and procedure details for the death and resurrection of Agent Phil Coulson.
- Final Project T.A.H.I.T.I. report from project supervisor Agent Phil Coulson.
- Director Phil Coulson - Executive director; Formally assumed deceased; Former field officer who oversaw many of the division's field operations.
- Nick Fury - Former executive director. Assumed deceased. Appointed Phil Coulson as his successor. (Off the Grid)
There is another level of clearance that is needed to access S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most secret and highly encrypted files.
Access to information on the following:
- Project Insight top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D operation.
World Security Council
The World Security Council are the international group that makes sure that the world is safe through the help of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operatives.