The security clearance: Inside the process
Let’s see if I understand all this: We have one presidential candidate with zero executive experience, no military experience and, when he bothered to be present or even vote in the U.S. Senate, he voted to support what Democrats Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson were doing to bankrupt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and he voted in support of Rep. Barney Frank (D) and Senator Chris Dodd (D). Note: all of the above are Congressional Record-documented prime malefactors in the mortgage meltdown.
He is opposed by a presidential candidate who has executive experience managing a squadron of multi-million-dollar aircraft, who spent an entire career in the service of this nation as a naval aviator, who was tortured so badly in the Hanoi Hilton that his crippled hands do not allow him to do email, and who has served 26 years being a U.S. Senate maverick, voting against the very missteps that got us into today’s financial crisis.
Senator John McCain has a Top Secret security clearance. Moreover, The Military Times reports our troops favor McCain over Obama by a 68-23 margin.
As a former intelligence officer, this observer wonders if Barak Hussein Obama (AKA Barry Soetoro) could pass the standard security checks performed on prospective government employees for access to highly-classified information?
The security-clearance process requires completion of a detailed personal history. That sends agents into the field to conduct a Personnel Security Investigation (PSI). Present and past associations are interviewed.
But what if the agents discover that the applicant has written that his childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was an avowed communist? What if the applicant admits in writing that the teachings of the anti-American, Marxist, radical, Saul Alinsky, influenced his early career as a community organizer on the far south side of Chicago?
What if the applicant’s former business associate is a convicted Chicago mobster? What if the applicant attends a church for 20 years where he calls the pastor who routinely engages in anti-White, anti-Semite, anti-American diatribes (available for sale on CDs in the church lobby) a member of his family and then claims he never knew about the radical views of his pastor?”
What if the agents learn that the applicant launched his Illinois political career at a fund-raiser held in the living room of two of the most violent and unrepentant, Anti-American radicals of the 1960s: William Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn? What if the agents learn that Ayers and the applicant spent years sitting on the board of a charitable trust that has been funding ACORN, a group that has given the applicant $200,000 and is being investigated in 12 states for massive voter fraud in favor of Democrat candidates?
Fortunately, the agents are trained to look for positive information as well. They are trained to see through the personal biases of interviewees. For example, a former teacher might opine, “Oh, I remember Barry. He was a drunk.” Subsequently, if the agents learn the former teacher is a teetotaler who thinks one drink makes a drunk, the agents take that into account and duly note that in their agent reports.
At the end of this painstaking process, all of the agent reports are assembled. Then, the agency reviewing the completed PSI must decide if the applicant can be cleared for access to classified military information.
The improper handling or leaking of classified information can cost the lives of our men and women in uniform. If the decision means the applicant would gain control over our men and women in uniform and gain control of our nuclear arsenal, that would, indeed, be a very, very serious decision.
Will voters elect the candidate who already has a Top Secret clearance or elect the candidate the vast majority of our troops don’t want and who couldn’t pass the standard PSI to begin with?
William Hamilton is a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today. Dr. Hamilton is a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers (AFIO).
©2008. William Hamilton.