If Tricia Newbold’s testimony on Monday before the House Oversight Committee is to be believed security clearances for White House personnel, “Were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security.” That coupled with known facts is concerning! Let’s explore.
Reportedly some 25 members of Donald Trump’s staff have security clearance because he either directly intervened to grant them the clearance or pressured others during the appeal/review process following an initial declination. The clearances were initially denied because of “red flags” that came up in the investigation process. It appears minor red flags came up two or three times in the Clinton, George W., and Obama administrations and were ignored. That is two or three in eight year administrations; this is 25 in two years.
One example (by her own admission) is Nicole Wallace. She admitted to smoking marijuana during college. First off, she openly admitted it during her interviews and paperwork. Second, marijuana experimentation is so widespread that it would be extremely difficult to find a young person who hasn’t tried it. Third, it is so commonplace as to hardly be a scandal. Two recent Presidents admitted to it.
Jared Kushner had to make over 100 corrections to his security clearance paperwork. That’s a lot of omissions! If he truly forgot them I have to question his intelligence. If he didn’t forget I have to question his integrity. In either case he is certainly not worth of the position his father-in-law put him in.
The security clearance procedure is in place for a reason; it helps protect our national security. The information I get is that it is cumbersome, inconvenient, uncomfortable and imperfect. But it sure beats the hell out of nothing or having Trump simply select people, especially considering his track record on that front!
A large part of America’s national security is predicated on international relations especially with our allies. Need I remind anyone that the only nation to benefit from Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which considers an attack on any member an attack on all members, is the United States? We may have the best intelligence service in the world (the Russians and the Israelis might argue with that) but it is certainly not omnipotent. When Trump feels the need to bolster his ego by sharing classified information received from an ally to Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak with no other Americans present in the Oval Office what does that do for our relations with the intelligence services of foreign allies? When Trump stands up at a podium in Helsinki, Finland and takes the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over that of his own intelligence services what does that do for their moral? More importantly how does that make America safer? The answer is it doesn’t; in fact it makes it less safe.
I have long stated I feel the Trump administration is basically an organized criminal enterprise. That is based largely on how it handles (read: steals) money. But it is also how it handles personnel. Far from hiring only the best, Trump acts like a mob boss (hence Don Trump) and expects total and complete loyalty to him personally along with the Mafia principle of Omerta (total silence). Anyone who cooperates with law enforcement and tells the truth is considered a, “Rat”.
It looks to me that solving this problem will fall to the American people. I just hope that they take appropriate action on November 3, 2020 and we make it to the afternoon of January 20, 2021.
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