This Nation’s True “Vetting Crisis.”
Supposedly Hilary Clinton should go to jail for using a private server for government emails that the Russians might have been able to get into, risking compromise of classified information. However bad it was, it does not approach Trump’s lack of “vetting” for people with the highest access to national secrets.
Michael Flynn had the highest position in national security in this country and infamously led the chants to “lock her up” at the Republican National Convention. Flynn was the freaking Director of National Intelligence. Trump was warned by the out going President to stay away from Flynn, that his ties to Russians couldn’t be trusted. Trump ignored the former President and appointed Flynn to this incredibly sensitive position anyway. When Flynn had been on the job for less than a week Acting Attorney General Sally Yates forcefully warned the White House that Flynn’s lying to the FBI potentially compromised him and made him a national security risk. She met with White House officials twice more, presenting in the strongest terms the security risk this man was to the country. The President ignored her, and then fired her. Flynn would stay on the job for nearly three weeks after these warnings before being fired only after his compromised nature was made public. Flynn is now a convicted felon.
Rob Porter appointed to White House Staff Secretary, a position with wide access to classified materials. The FBI is quickly notified by both his prior spouses, and a prior girlfriend (who works in Trump’s Administration), that he is a woman beater. One wife sought and received a protective order against him. As a consequence he is not granted a permanent security clearance. The FBI concludes that the allegations are credible and that Porter will likely never qualify for a permanent security clearance as the allegations provide an avenue for Russian blackmail. The FBI communicates all this to the White House and told the White House their investigation was complete. The White House responds by covering up the allegations, granting him interim security clearances and promoting him. When the reasons for the denial of a permanent security clearance start to leak the White House defends him. General John Kelly puts his fading credibility on the line issuing a strong defense of the wife beater’s character. Only when a picture of the abuse emerges does the White House take Porter’s resignation. To this day the President continues to side with Porter against his victims saying “We certainly wish him well . . . He did a very good job while he was in the White House . . . We hope that he will have a wonderful career.” Trump then tweeted yet another defense of the wife beater lamenting that careers were being ruined over “mere allegations.”
Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor requiring him to get security clearance too. He too still does not have a permanent security clearance as his background check is still not complete. He’s hip deep in Mueller’s Russia investigation and he has numerous financial ties with Russians. He failed to disclose secret meetings he had with Russians (over 100 meetings), and the full extent of his financial ties, in his initial applications for security clearance. He has amended his clearance application numerous times, generally not on his own volition, but in response to new information trickling to the media. He too continues to operate under interim clearances granted by the White House.
Incredible as these examples are, they are just the tip of the iceberg. A year into Trump’s Administration some 30–40 people in positions needing permanent security clearances have not yet received them. Like Flynn did, like Porter did, and like Kushner does now, they operate under temporary clearances which require no meaningful vetting or background checks at all, just the President’s say so.
If this were Obama the impeachment proceeding would already be well underway. All this talk about Clinton and her supposed risk to national security was just politically blustering BS. If Republicans were concerned about national security they would be all over the threats to it by the weak, and sometimes non-existent, vetting of people who have access to the supposedly most secure secrets of this nation.
How about some “extreme vetting” in your own house Mr. President?