This is incorrect. It is very easy for a civilian to get a clearance through a government contractor with no military background. It also doesn't cost the private company anything. The money required to get a clearance comes from the government funding of the agency that does the paperwork and investigation.
Own them both, played them both. If this game wasn't free to play Cryptic would have a lifetime subscription option for $200, only to make the game F2P afterwards. I never fell for that, but I'm still not a fan of Cryptic.