[ExI] Security clearances
spike66 at att.net
Thu May 12 17:11:05 UTC 2016
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:13 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] Security clearances
On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 11:20 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net <mailto:spike66 at att.net> > wrote:
they must clear a president (and we have had three in a row who were not clearable by the traditional criteria.)
Out of curiosity, which 3 do you mean? I can see a case against Bush Jr., but Obama, William Clinton, and Bush Sr. do not have obvious problems. (Unless you mean Clinton was blackmailable, but that was discovered only after he was cleared. But even granting that, who's the third? I can see some people arguing that Obama should not have been cleared due to being black, or being a Democrat with all that entails, but surely you have some more legitimate criteria in mind I'm not thinking of. Obama hiring Hillary Clinton does not reflect on his own clearance.)
Bill said he smoked weed a couple of times, didn’t inhale. Even then, people could be cleared after having done illegal drugs, but their story had to match the story of others who were there. His did not. Security people ask around, find out who you hung with, when, what dope was being done, ask them what happened. The others didn’t bother to try that silly didn’t inhale business: they detailed dozens of times when they (including Bill) damn sure did smoke weed and damn sure did in inhale. We knew of it at the time; you would have a hard time finding anyone today who believes Bill only tried weed once or twice and didn’t inhale. But hey, lying about smoking weed is a special subset case of lying. And anyway, he wasn’t under oath when he said it. It was just a speech. So… fair game.
OK so there is a discrepancy between his story and the witnesses. No clearance for you! However… a president is a special case. So they had to clear him anyway. Then there was a bunch of questions being asked that I got to see firsthand right when that was going on in 1992. The security people changed the rules and started asking about drug use other than grass. No kidding. Grass didn’t count anymore as drug abuse (but alcohol abuse still did.) The security people effectively legalized grass in order to keep the more important criterion of complete openness and honesty with the security people. I agree with what was done.
We had to ask: if the president could get a clearance after telling such an absurdity, are there any others who can do likewise? Can we? Answer: no. Well, yes but not you. The VP can do this too. But if we catch you in a discrepancy, your clearance is a fading memory by the time the guards get you out the door and throw your paltry personal effects at you on the way out. We acknowledged that the president (and the VP) really were security clearance special cases.
Eight years went by. Bush Junior had sucked up cocaine. That one was different, for even in the 70s, when grass was sorta legal (as it is now in some states) cocaine definitely was not, never was. Having it, using it, selling it, buying it, that stuff was a crime. Bush43 admitted using it, was upfront and honest about it, told where and when, they found the witnesses, the stories agreed, Bush43 made it on one criteria but not the other: he did tell the truth, but cocaine was an actual crime. They made an exception and cleared him.
Eight more years, Barack admitted in his own book that he sucked up cocaine, even while he had no visible means of paying for it, but that case was more problematic than his predecessors, for they couldn’t find the witnesses. We still do not know who were Barack’s childhood friends. The security people ask about those, and try to find them if they can. In his case, they couldn’t. We still know very little about Barack’s formative years. So… they made an exception for the president, as they did in the cases of his two predecessors.
By the traditional criteria by which security clearances and investigations are carried out for others, none of the last three presidents would have been clearable: Bill for lying, Bush43 for cocaine and Barack for secrecy about his past.
So what do we do about the Secretary of State? That isn’t an elected position. So the security people are not obligated to grant that position a clearance, for if the SecState loses her clearance, she is fired and a new one appointed, just as a CEO of a multi-billion-dollar defense company can lose his tickets for lying to security, and if so, he is replaced. We have a shining example of exactly that.
So do we make a special case for Secretary of State, so long as she will be the next president? If so, how can we know for sure she will be the next president? And if the security people know of clearance-destroying activities but failed to act, are they now legally liable? Why not? They participated in a cover-up, ja?
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