51 People Who Should Never Have Clearances Again

As a member of the United States Intelligence Community since I was 22 years old, I’ve had, at minimum, a secret security clearance for the better part of 17 years now. I’ve always taken this responsibility seriously, as while working in intelligence, I’ve seen firsthand the disastrous consequences of intelligence falling into the wrong hands, whether it’s a leak on our own side leading to the death of soldiers or information we’ve received because we convinced our enemies to pass data to us that resulted in successful military and law enforcement operations both in the U.S. and abroad.

Getting a clearance is not an easy process, as most folks will attest. Clearances are given only to those who hold a job that requires one (either military or government service, almost exclusively). The process can take anywhere from three months to a year, depending on the type of clearance. I’ve provided this preamble to ensure that readers understand that I do not make my argument lightly. I know the hundreds of thousands of dollars and man-hours that go into investigating, adjudicating, and processing security clearances.

The 51 Intelligence Community professionals who signed a letter claiming the Hunter Biden laptop showed “signs of Russian disinformation” should have their clearances immediately revoked and their access to classified information severed and never again restored. Their blatant disregard for the proper process through which an intelligence investigation is conducted, as well as for national security matters in general, is ground to terminate their clearances immediately.

Image: James Clapper by DonkeyHotey. CC BY 2.0.

To recap for the three people living under a rock these past few years, the laptop that Hunter Biden (Joe Biden’s son) left at a computer repair shop contained disturbing contents, including video evidence of drug use, prostitution, and foreign business deals. Almost everyone has heard the famous “10% for the big guy” phrase, which implied that Joe Biden himself was also involved in these business dealings.

The New York Post first reported on this bombshell story. Once viewed as a tabloid, the NY Post has quietly become one of the better and more accurate purveyors of actual journalism in recent years.

Its reward for breaking this story? Its Twitter account was banned, the story was buried, and 50 high-ranking intelligence officials, with impressive credentials, including former director of the Office of National Intelligence, National Security Advisors, and other high-ranking roles, signed their names to a letter claiming the laptop was a piece of Russian disinformation. They did so without any due diligence, investigation, or even time spent examining the hard drive’s contents for verification.

Why would these supposedly intelligent and experienced intelligence community professionals do something so reckless, premature, and outright stupid, you may ask? Because they didn’t want Donald Trump to win. At the time, they claimed they signed the letter only to inform the public that the laptop story was a Russian hoax, and didn’t intend it to affect people’s decision to vote for Joe Biden. Yet it was clear that 50 intelligence community officials forsook the implied objectivity that the intelligence community is supposed to have when it comes to political administrations and outright lied to influence an election—ironically, the same thing they accused Russia of doing, which was projection and gaslighting at its finest.

Some may argue that these officials were just voicing their opinions and utilizing their First Amendment rights. However, these officials made it a point to use their credentials and current (and former) positions to boost the credibility of their propaganda. Leveraging your federal service to achieve political influence is a major security concern per the SF-86 form and a significant adjudication concern. Also, anyone who has ever taken a media course in the military or civilian sectors knows that the only way to address an ongoing investigation or national security concern is by stating the following:

I can neither confirm nor deny the potential incident in question did occur, we are currently undergoing an investigation into the veracity of these claims and allegations, and until such time as deemed prudent to express the results of this investigation to the public they will be made known at the earliest possible time.

You never, under any circumstances, comment on an ongoing investigation, and this rule exists for multiple reasons, with these being the two most important: First, you don’t want to tip off the involved parties that you are onto them. Second, your statement can influence the investigation in various ways, from dissuading further investigative actions to killing an investigation altogether. It’s the same logic behind the principle that we don’t assign guilt or innocence to someone accused of a crime until a criminal investigation is concluded, the facts are discovered, and the citizen has had the benefit of a properly conducted trial before a jury of his peers.  

I had never been so disgusted with the United States Intelligence Community as I am now. The motivations of the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice should never be political. Their priority should always be the safety and security of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. The fact that these institutions have so clearly become corrupted by Washington politics, to the point at which they would deliberately cover for the criminal dealings of an elected (or campaigning) politician’s family is beyond upsetting.

The GOP House has started investigating the 50 signatories to the letter about Hunter Biden’s laptop. While I’m hopeful some may be reprimanded, it’s more likely that none will lose their clearances. That’s a shame. A message must be sent to the members of their intelligence community that their job is to serve the people of the United States, all of them, not just the ones they support politically. If I could do my job under Obama, these disgusting political hacks should have known how to do their job under someone with whom they disagreed. This is true, too, for all current and future members of the intelligence community.

Gregory McCants is a pseudonym.

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