What about congressional security clearances?

FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior MemberPosts: 5,600 Senior Member
Do all members of congress have the highest level of security clearances? I've been out of the aircraft industry since 1994 and held a clearance for 18 years before that and recall there being several levels of clearance and even a lower clearance involved a pretty indepth background check back then. Watching numerous hearings /dog and pony shows with various commitees made up of members of congress, I've heard countless members of congress demand access to classified information by virtue of being a member of congress. I can't envision someone like AOC or quite a few other members of congress for that matter having access to top secret level data and wonder if they in fact do have high level clearances.
snake284 wrote: »
For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
.

Replies

  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,659 Senior Member
    https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify-no-congress-doesnt-need-security-clearance-to-read-classified-intel/65-6f952717-2741-496a-8e74-11449ef114e5

    Here's your answer. They don't need an executive agency to give them permission to see classified information (separation of powers and all). The constitution gives them oversight power which supersedes any executive branch classification. The will of the voters is all the clearance they need, but it can be revoked.  
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member
    Thanks for that link.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,570 Senior Member
    While it is the way things are, I sure find it darn scary.  That link does not address the "need to know" portion of classified material.   
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member
    Diver43 said:
    While it is the way things are, I sure find it darn scary.  That link does not address the "need to know" portion of classified material.   

    I couldn't agree more. I think any elected or appointed official on the federal level should be able to pass a background check and should have a clearance to view classified material. I was just a mechanic and had to have those things. That "oath of secrecy" doesn't seem to carry as much weight as it should with all of the leaks pouring out of the capital.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,624 Senior Member
    I understand the sentiment regarding BGCs, but they are congress. We hired them to represent us, and that includes all of our dirty little secrets. They "need to know" regardless of what we think of their politics. Anything else will politicized by both sides.

    If they leak something that compromises lives, throw their asses under a federal prison. 


    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,659 Senior Member
    edited April 9 #7
    It's likely that any restrictions would be considered unconstitutional since it could become a way to limit, potentially severely, who would be eligible run for public office. Trump has lots of overseas business dealings, some of those ties would actually potentially raise significant red flags if he had to go through a full security clearance process. 

    Deals like this one that was designed to help the Islamic Revolutionary Guard launder money and potentially funnel it to terrorists would not look particularly good on a clearance investigation....

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-business-ties-irans-revolutionary-152123174.html

    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,288 Senior Member
    On the other hand, there's been a LOT of damage done over the years by blabbing congress critters.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 3,457 Senior Member
    It seems like keeping shared knowledge to a minimum would be required to insure the best chance of secrecy.

    Sorting and determining the particulats of what and who has got to be more daunting than running a gauntlet.
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member

    Deals like this one that was designed to help the Islamic Revolutionary Guard launder money and potentially funnel it to terrorists would not look particularly good on a clearance investigation....

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-business-ties-irans-revolutionary-152123174.html


    You behave like a Chuck Schumer wannabe on this forum. Do you even read the links that you post with your "Trump derangement syndrom"? In 2012 the "Trump Organization signed contracts with developers that appeared to be a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guard". The design or intent of that deal to launder money and funnel it to terrorists is your spin, it's not in the link that you posted.

    This thread was about security clearances and access to classified information and you use it as another opportunity to take a jab at Trump.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,659 Senior Member
    edited April 10 #11

    Deals like this one that was designed to help the Islamic Revolutionary Guard launder money and potentially funnel it to terrorists would not look particularly good on a clearance investigation....

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-business-ties-irans-revolutionary-152123174.html


    You behave like a Chuck Schumer wannabe on this forum. Do you even read the links that you post with your "Trump derangement syndrom"? In 2012 the "Trump Organization signed contracts with developers that appeared to be a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guard". The design or intent of that deal to launder money and funnel it to terrorists is your spin, it's not in the link that you posted.

    This thread was about security clearances and access to classified information and you use it as another opportunity to take a jab at Trump.


    "I think any elected or appointed official on the federal level should be able to pass a background check and should have a clearance to view classified material.
    See bold text I added from your own post. I think that sets a dangerous precedent. If say Trump had to pass a top secret background check as a private citizen with no special power in order to be eligible to run for congress or president there's no way he would have ever passed given his history of international business dealings with shady characters including Arabs with ties to terrorism and oligarchs with ties to Putin. Not to mention paying off porn stars to cover up affairs. All of those types of things are big no-nos from a security clearance perspective. Luckily the constitution says that the American public gets to decide who represents them and not un-elected bureaucrats. 

    So no, this was not a jab at the president, I was defending him against misguided policy that you were advocating for that would disqualify him from office. 
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,624 Senior Member
    ....Luckily the constitution says that the American public gets to decide who represents them and not un-elected bureaucrats. 
    Off topic, but we need more of this thinking. By everyone. Un-elected bureaucrats will be the death of our Republic. 


    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member
    Alpha you make a valid point, but I feel there has to be some level of control over highly classified information. Merely being elected to a position doesn't give someone the dicipline to handle highly classified information. I guess background checks might be extreme as most politicians probably couldn't pass one but there's different levels of BGC's just as there's different levels of security clearances. I just can't imagine someone like AOC having unfettered access to information critical to national security.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,624 Senior Member
    edited April 10 #14
    I just can't imagine someone like AOC having unfettered access to information critical to national security.
    And the people who voted for her would argue differently. 

    Serious questions - 

    How many members of congress have leaked classified info? What were the results (did anything bad happen?) Were they punished? 


    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member
    CaliFFL said,

    Serious questions - 

    How many members of congress have leaked classified info? What were the results (did anything bad happen?) Were they punished? 


    After searching a good bit on line about this I found that a considerable amount of information that has been discussed in closed meetings (which would be considered classified) has been leaked to the media over the years but little effort is placed on locating the leaks. The other part of your question is Victor L Berger, a congressman who was tried under the espionage act, in 1919. So yes, they do it but don't get caught and no nothing really happens.

    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,099 Senior Member
    In the executive branch, Obama had a secretary of state (Clinton) that was pretty careless with classified information that went on to win the Democratic nomination and was almost elected president. We got a guy working for our president right now whose only real qualification for his top secret clearance is that he is sleeping with the president's daughter-- not because he could pass a background check.

    I am not an AOC fan, but she is a legitimately elected public official and may need that information to do her job-- just like the president's advisers may need it in order to properly advise the president.

    Both the executive and legislative branches of government have legitimate needs to access classified information to perform their constitutional duties.

    It is what it is.
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,659 Senior Member
    edited April 10 #17
    Alpha you make a valid point, but I feel there has to be some level of control over highly classified information. Merely being elected to a position doesn't give someone the dicipline to handle highly classified information. I guess background checks might be extreme as most politicians probably couldn't pass one but there's different levels of BGC's just as there's different levels of security clearances. I just can't imagine someone like AOC having unfettered access to information critical to national security.
    I feel the same way about our current CIC, but enough people in the country disagreed with me to put him in office so not much I can do other than vote for someone else who i do trust in that position next election and hope more of my fellow Americans agree with me this time.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,600 Senior Member
    Alpha you make a valid point, but I feel there has to be some level of control over highly classified information. Merely being elected to a position doesn't give someone the dicipline to handle highly classified information. I guess background checks might be extreme as most politicians probably couldn't pass one but there's different levels of BGC's just as there's different levels of security clearances. I just can't imagine someone like AOC having unfettered access to information critical to national security.
    I feel the same way about our current CIC, but enough people in the country disagreed with me to put him in office so not much I can do other than vote for someone else who i do trust in that position next election and hope more of my fellow Americans agree with me this time.

    I understand your reasoning but Trump can keep a secret as he shows with his tax returns and other personal information where AOC just runs her mouth.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,606 Senior Member
    https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify-no-congress-doesnt-need-security-clearance-to-read-classified-intel/65-6f952717-2741-496a-8e74-11449ef114e5

    Here's your answer. They don't need an executive agency to give them permission to see classified information (separation of powers and all). The constitution gives them oversight power which supersedes any executive branch classification. The will of the voters is all the clearance they need, but it can be revoked.  
    I don't recall seeing you (or Adam Shiff) saying that when Chaffetts, Nunez, Goodlatte, etc, were demanding documents from the Comey/Rosenstein FBI/Justice Department (with the AG recused). The extent to which Democrats have flipped 180 degrees on this subject is hilarious. It seems not to work for them, any better than it did for Republicans.
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