In 1981, I joined the Congressional office staff of Rep. Paul Findley (R-IL) as press secretary and legislative assistant and we moved to Washington after 17 years as a newspaperman in Illinois and Virginia.
To assist Findley, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I had to secure a Top Secret security clearance to attend briefings, accompany the Congressman on trips and have access to documents.
The clearance, directed by the Pentagon, took six months before clearance.
When I moved over to the office of Rep. Manuel Lujan (R-N.M.), i needed an additional clearance, called a “Q” classified listing, from the Department of Energy, for access to labs like Los Alamos, Sandia and other nuclear weapons labs because Lujan was a member of the Science & Technology Committees.
That investigation took about five months. Both clearances stayed with me when i became special assistant to the ranking member of the House Committee of Science & Technology (later called the Committee for Science, Space & Technology Committee). The clearances also allowed me to carry a red “Official” government passport, which eased entry to some nations and slowed it down with others during travel.
In both cases, additional interviews came because of an anonymous phone call to the U.S. Secret Service in the 1972 Presidential race claiming I was a threat to then candidate George Wallace, who was running for office from his wheelchair after an attempted assassination left him paralyzed.
The call led the Secret Service to interview me before a campaign rally in Southern Illinois campaign rally. They asked me questions, examined my presidential campaign credentials, with the Secret Service issued, and let me cover the rally. Their general conclusion from the agents was that the call came from someone in the Wallace campaign who did not like a story I had written about the governor in an earlier appearance.
But the issue came up again in the 1981 and 1982 background investigations for a security clearance but after a re-investigation, the clearances went through.
However, if either clearance had not been granted, I would have been looking for another job.
That was then, this is now, and in the world of President Donald Trump, a failure to obtain necessary security clearances does not mean much if someone works for the President of the United States.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance for his job in the White House never came through but he remains on the job on an “interim clearance” approved by his father-in-law.
When the FBI reported problems with Jeb Porter, staff assistant to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, they were told to take a second look. They did and reported problems involving domestic abuse and adultery. The agency found the new staff assistant beat a former wife and his latest one and was bedding White House communications director Hope Hooks.
Kelly looked the other way and kept an “interim clearance” in place while Porter handed sensitive documents destined for the president and was assuming more responsibilities in the White House before a London Newspaper uncovered his domestic abuse background and made it a public issue.
Still, Kelly and Trump praised Porter and keep him on board until late last week when the heat forced some action and Kelly claimed he “moved quickly” to terminate Porter as the White House press secretary reported he had resigned.
Then Kelly told aides to lie about what he knew and when he knew it.
Kushner, however, is still on the job with access to highest level documents that involve the security of the United States, months after the FBI and Pentagon told Trump and the White House of problems with his financial dealings, his lack of honesty in interviews and his personal life.
Maybe Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and Kushner’s wife, whispered something in daddy’s ear.
Or maybe daddy Trump just doesn’t give a damn about the safety and security of the United States of America.
We know that neither Trump nor Kelly care about honesty or integrity. Is their patriotism that expendable as well?
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