Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Should Karl Rove keep top security clearance? .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Should Karl Rove keep top security clearance?

Should Rove keep top security clearance?

The short answer is, "no". The long answer is "NOOOOOOOOOO!"

We're talking about the guy who knows all the secrets. He's at the president's side constantly, he's in on all important national security meetings. And he allegedly committed treason by leaking an undercover CIA agent's identity to the press. Not for national security reasons, but in retaliation for her husband's criticism of the administration and for his telling the truth when official policy was to lie to the American people in order to start an illegal war.

Standard procedure on a security clearance is to revoke it on first suspicion of breach of national security (of which outing an active undercover federal agent certainly applies), and then reinstate the clearance if the charges prove to be groundless.

For example:

An intelligence analyst temporarily lost his top-secret security clearance because he faxed his résumé using a commercial machine.

An employee of the U.S. Defense Department had her clearance suspended for months because a jilted boyfriend called to say she might not be reliable.

A U.S. Army officer who spoke publicly about intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks had his clearance revoked over questions about $67 in personal charges to a military cell phone.

For Karl Rove to maintain his security clearance, and subsequently his power, while he's under investigation for criminally using top secret information for political gain is a clear example of how this administration puts it's self-preservation over national security and the good of the American people.

Even Senator Trent Lott, one of the GOP's staunchest supporters of this administration, is questioning why Rove still has his security clearance. So what does dubya do in response? He directs his staff to take refresher training in ethics. Whaaa?

I'd like to be the instructor in that class.

Ethics 101, Lesson One - "Don't do anything illegal or immoral, even if you want to or stand to gain from it." "Now class, stop laughing! We've got to protect our phoney baloney jobs here!" "Okay then, just don't get caught." "Class dismissed."

Rove, like all White House employees granted security clearance, was required to sign a "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement" acknowledging that "unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation," according to a blank form posted on a federal government Web site.

The form also notes, "I have been advised that any breach of this Agreement may result in the termination of any security clearances I hold; removal from any position of special confidence and trust requiring such clearances; or the termination of my employment or other relationships with the Departments or Agencies that granted my security clearance or clearances."

Everyone who's ever held a job is familiar with the "up to and including termination" portion of a work rules document. Most of us are in danger of violating this by leaving a fingertip in the chili or falling asleep on the job. Rove, however, is eligible by putting undercover agents, and entire undercover operations at risk of their lives by his disclosure, not to mention the thousands of American lives already lost because of the war started over the lies he was trying to protect. That sounds like grounds for immediate termination to me.

And his boss is falling asleep on the job, but that's no big deal. He can do less damage that way.


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