Friday, 16 February 2018 10:16

Temporary clearances problem makes Trump administration a reckless security risk

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spy trump2Anyone who has ever worked for the U.S. who had to get to their office through three sets of locked doors is outraged by the fact that White House staff without permanent clearances are handling classified materials the way a paperboy handles the news. Anyone who ever wondered if the peace lecture they attended with a classmate would affect their clearance application is shaking their head. Anyone who ever felt outrage at Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning, is fuming over what’s going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Reportedly, a hundred, or more, White House staff still lack appropriate permanent clearances for their positions, and national security appears to be an afterthought in the West Wing. This speaks poorly about the man at the top whose most important job it is to secure the nation from all internal and external foes. There’s no shortage of enemies out there who covet the fruits of American ingenuity, including our innermost secrets. The threat from them is real.

No shortage, either, of folks who would harm us by hostile infiltration that’s aided by inside knowledge and information of things like voting systems. One of the reasons for the current Mueller investigation is to learn if the Russians had help in their drive to elect a president sympathetic to their cause and if there was any quid-pro-quo involved. These are not rhetorical questions and every American should want them answered because they’re determinative of what type of county we will inhabit going forward.

The president, seemingly, has refused to take the security aspects of his job seriously and doesn’t appear to appreciate how vital the interests are that he’s charged with protecting, even if the entire free world knows their importance. Trump’s actions, and his speech continue to show disregard for basic protocols, evidence of which is his population of the White House with people who would’ve been summarily fired by any other administration. This is more than carelessness; it’s reckless, as James Comey might say.

Rob Porter, late White House staff secretary and accused wife-beater, was a security risk who could’ve been a blackmail target. Donald Trump, himself, it’s been claimed by various security professionals, could be vulnerable to the same targeting on account of allegations pertaining to business dealings, debt, personal conduct, and associates with baggage. It’s unclear if he’d have been granted a security clearance if one hadn’t been handed him following the election.

Since taking office the president has attacked U.S. intelligence agencies, fired the FBI director for investigating foreign influences, reviewed classified reports in the dining room of his Florida golf club, spilled secrets to the Russians the day after he was sworn in, and appears to lend comfort to the government of Vladimir Putin which, regularly, wars with American allies overseas. Putin, rarely, has been our friend, and that doesn’t seem to have changed much.

Trump has been in office for more than a year. He is no less idiosyncratic, today than when he walked into the oval office, but he should be smarter. It’s time to clean house, acknowledge that Russia is a threat, and ramp-up staff security so all Americans can feel comforted that the president, and his staff, have our safety at heart.

 

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