Senators and Security Clearances

Ace posted a question from a reader in the sidebar, asking why a terrorist associating, community organizer could obtain a security clearance when most people who hang out with Weather Underground bombers would be denied.

The answer is that for Members of Congress (both House Members and Senators) security clearance vests simply by virtue of their having been elected.

That's it. You organize enough anti-American, bomb-planting, coke snorting, misogynistic, MSNBC watching, kos-diarists to vote your sorry community organizing ass into office in a one-party gerrymandered district, and you too can have access to all the nation's secrets!


Anyway, the rules are actually different for Congressional staffers. Ironically, Community Organizer Barack Obama would probably NOT qualify for a security clearance BASED ON THE CHOICES HE MADE THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE if he were a lowly STAFFER.

His history of drug use would disqualify him. His association with domestic terrorists would disqualify him. Hell, even the community organizer's much discussed "difficulty" in paying back his student loans could conceivably justify denying a security clearance if they were so onerous as to constitute a severe financial hardship.

This merits of this "two-tiered" system are debatable. Obviously, some of Congress' chief functions include oversight hearings and the review of judicial and executive branch appointments. Often, classified documents are reviewed by those with the appropriate clearances in the routine course of fulfilling these responsibilities. Having some Community Organizers receive info while other Community Organizers did not would could hamper these responsibilities.

Then again, I doubt that when these rules were first developed anyone thought a terrorist-simp Community Organizer who belonged to a racist "nationalist" church and had a history of drug binges and taking on more debt than he could manage would ever have access to these documents anyway.

All of which skirts the really important issue though:

Apparently, a Congressman or a Staffer can STILL get a security clearance if a daughter becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby.

Obviously, this gap in our nation's security apparatus needs to be fixed asap.

Otherwise, there is no telling what sort of threat to the Republic might one day be made privy to our nation's deepest secrets. I know this risk must be very severe too: I hear Keith Olbermann is planning a special commentary about this very loophole! Have you Sirs who, Sir, vet security clearances, Sir, have no shame, Sir?

Anyway. Reader question asked. Reader question answered. With integrity. And conscious.

Just like Mr. Paul Anka, who as far as I know has never been a community organizer, would want it.

Posted by: Jack M. at 02:50 PM


1 Correct me if I'm wrong here .. but it sounds like Obama's real reason for running for President is to find out exactly what happened at Roswell New Mexico.

Posted by: Neo at September 03, 2008 02:55 PM (Yozw9)

2 Community Organizers. Is there anything they can't do?

Apparently not.

Posted by: Bart at September 03, 2008 03:01 PM (3wdXX)

3 This was good, thanks.
One note though aren't appointees who get senate approval given the same pass?
If, God forbid, Obama was president and he made Rev. Wright an ambassador or gave Ayers a cabinet position and the Dem senate approved them wouldn't they get clearance even if government vetting said no?

Posted by: Rocks at September 03, 2008 03:02 PM (7rbe9)

4 In fairness, Obama's record of drug use would most likely not disqualify him at this point, provided he didn't lie about it, and in fact has been rather public about it.
What makes people a security risk is when they have something to hide, something they can be blackmailed over. Obama, on the score of drug use anyway, has seemed to of come clean.

Posted by: headhunt23 at September 03, 2008 03:10 PM (OMCBg)

5 Obama came clean on his drug use? How can we be certain?

The fact that Obama has admitted to such use raises grave concerns that such behavior is simply the tip of the iceberg. Until Obama releases his full, unadulterated, and complete medical records we can not know the truth. No matter how unseemly it may feel, we must not fail to ask these valid, important questions, no matter how much we may wish to respect his privacy.

Posted by: RedFox84 at September 03, 2008 03:18 PM (1R4Vg)

6 Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there multiple security levels for members of Congress? The Senate Select Subcommitte on Intelligence would have a much higher need for clearance than something to do with Education or HHS, right?

In a way, I'm more concerned about the staffers than the candidates. Leaks and intel breaches come from the staffers, either because they are acting for their bosses or because they're loose cannons that take matters in their own hands.

Obama's security profile doesn't concern me too much. His judgement in picking appropriate staffers does.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at September 03, 2008 03:24 PM (Ds4I5)

7 Is use of val-u-rite vodka enough to disqualify any moron from getting a security clearance? What about Hobo hunting?

Posted by: Robert at September 03, 2008 03:24 PM (V+ylD)

8 This would make a great ad for the McCain campaign. List all of the things that would disqualify Obama from getting a security clearance. Simple as that.

Posted by: BuckNutty at September 03, 2008 03:30 PM (vvUmd)

9 Drug use wouldn't disqualify him but his association with known terrorists advocating the overthrow of the US government and the church he belonged to should raise eyebrows, especially unrepentant ones. So the Commander in Chief would have the highest clearance in the land and not even be screened except by the voting public who does not even know where Iraq is? What a country.

Posted by: CDR M at September 03, 2008 03:39 PM (y67bA)

10 Thanks JackM for answering that. I suspected that you would know!

Posted by: CDR M at September 03, 2008 03:44 PM (Mv/2X)

11 Is use of val-u-rite vodka enough to disqualify any moron from getting a security clearance? What about Hobo hunting?
While there are numerousmorons working for the U.S. Government, there are few if any hobos. So no problem.

Posted by: klrtz1 at September 03, 2008 04:02 PM (HCNr7)

12 Obama won't release any medical records since they would have something to say about some apparent facial reconstruction.

Now what is that drug that Obama admits taking that can really screw-up your nostrils? Oh yeah. Cocaine. That's the one. That's the expensive drug Obama was sniffing while he was in college on a scholarship. A scholarship that could have gone to someone that wasn't sniffing expensive cocaine. Yeah, expensive cocaine that was bought with money that could have gone to pay off his student loans earlier. Yeah, that cocaine.

Posted by: HBob at September 03, 2008 05:39 PM (I0b5H)

13 Joey Plugs might easily pass for a hobo if it weren't for the cornrow precision of the implants.

Posted by: Fritz at September 03, 2008 05:46 PM (zAvxs)

14 >>Is use of val-u-rite vodka enough to disqualify any moron from getting a security clearance?

Use of too much of it--and what other way is there to drink Val-U-Rite vodka?--probably wouldn't get through DSS/OPM adjudication.

Smoking a fattie with Ayers, though, would be a fucking deal-breaker for anyone other than the Kenyan Kid.

Posted by: railwriter at September 03, 2008 06:07 PM (XcsD4)

15 Give the keys to the Communist, coke addict. Yipppeeee.

Posted by: Mr._Chumpo at September 03, 2008 06:40 PM (2pOAm)

16 If a member
of the military admits that he or she has used cocaine in their past,they will
not be eligible for a security clearance, and I believe they may not evenbe
accepted into the military. Barrak Obama has admitted to using cocaine in his
past. As President he would be exposed to quite a bit of classified materials,
normally requiring of a high levelsecurity clearance. Should he not meet the
same level of requirements as a member of the military? Since he admitted to
using cocaine in his past, he should not be able to get a security clearance nor
have access to classified materials, making his presidency moot.

MSgt, USAF Retired

Posted by: GH at September 09, 2008 06:33 PM (552tX)

17 As an electrical engineer, I was granted a Top Secret clearance after a Background Investigation after admitting to being an alcoholic with prior cocaine and marijuana use. I underwent treatment for my addiction at a hospital and was required to grant access to the FBI to my medical records as a condition to being cleared for access to classified information. Obama would have to have done the same, that is grant access to his medical records to the FBI. So GH is wrong about not being eligible for a security clearance after admitting to drug use. I got mine.

Posted by: Ray F at October 18, 2008 04:19 AM (XaK2C)

18 As a TS (SCI) Security clearance holder, and a United States Marine F-18 pilot, I can assure you that the writer of this article is a complete idiot without the foggiest idea as to what it takes to qualify for these clearances. Don't you people get tired of having your fears preyed upon by biased writers like this?

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