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After Majestic 12 broke away from the Illuminati, Bob Page decided to replace the Illuminati's "Degrees of Illuminism" with a hierarchy of security clearances. The Degrees of Illuminism were apparently religiously based ranks, and seemed to be modeled on the Allied Masonic Degrees of the Freemasons. Page replaced the old ranking system with a similarly structured one, only secular. As Stanton Dowd comments, Page ironically names these security clearances after the Christian angelic hierarchy. The order and composition of the angelic hierarchy is not fully agreed upon by Christian philosophers and theologians. However, the order of ranking used by Majestic 12 was put forward by Thomas Aquinas, a personal icon to Page. The security clearances provide an incentive for MJ12 members to remain loyal to the organization. Recruits know that if they perform well, they will be rewarded with advancements "through the layers of secrecy".
The Majestic 12 security clearances are also used by UNATCO as it is merely a branch of MJ12. However, most UNATCO members are not aware that these rankings originate from Majestic 12, as its existence is not widely known.
Although it is clear that the names of the security clearances are based on Aquinas' angelic hierarchy, not all of the clearance levels are named in Deus Ex. The column on the left shows the ranks mentioned in the game, while the one on the right gives the full list of clearances, using the angelic hierarchy to fill in any blanks.
|Ranking||Clearances appearing in Deus Ex||Full list of clearances|
|Tier 8||omitted||Cherubic/7H or Cherubic/7W|
Clearance-restricted informationEditKnowledge of many projects carried out by MJ12 and UNATCO is strictly reserved to those with an appropriate security clearance. One such example of this is Project Dibbuk, which developed a stealth helicopter to be used during covert Majestic 12 operations. As outlined in the books on the project, it is restricted to those with Domination/5F clearance or higher. The end product of this project was the SH-187 stealth helicopter. Similarly, knowledge of the killswitch's in mechanically augmented agents of UNATCO is divulged only to those with at least Throne/6G clearance. As Jaime Reyes does not have this clearance, he is promptly informed that he is not permitted access to information concerning the killswitch mechanism.
Data related to nano-augmentations is not widely distributed by MJ12. JC Denton is refused information about his own augmentations as his clearance is not high enough. In the Liberty Island MJ12 lab, access to augmentation canisters is given only to authorized personnel with Domination/5F clearance. Knowledge of nano-augmented agents' killswitches, like those of their mechanically augmented colleagues, is also clearance-restricted. The existence of the killswitch is known by few people, but includes Joseph Manderley, Walton Simons and later, Jaime Reyes. According to Paul Denton, a person must have God clearance to know about the mechanism of the killswitch. However, it appears that Reyes is eventually granted knowledge of how it works as Simons asks him to evaluate the functionality of JC's killswitch.
Most MJ12 facilities are accessible only to those with a high enough clearance. These include the Majestic 12 facility in the sewers of Hell's Kitchen, the VersaLife labs in Hong Kong, and Area 51. Area 51, and more specifically, Sector 4, is described as a Seraphic/8X facility. This makes it the most exclusive MJ12 facility as far as security clearances are concerned. This isn't surprising since Sector 4 houses some of Majestic 12's most secretive projects such as human cloning, Universal Constructors and the potentially extraterrestrial blue fusion devices.