Many Americans like to believe that the people protecting our country are generally competent.
Even conservatives, who are naturally skeptical of government, tend to support law enforcement and the military, and usually trust that national security is at least in respectable hands even though presidents come and go.
Frustratingly, it looks like that trust may need to be carefully re-evaluated. A new Department of Defense report indicates that numerous security clearances — many issued during the Obama administration — were given to people who you wouldn’t trust to watch your daughter, let alone the country’s secrets.
“165 defense contractors had their initial security clearances revoked last year after further investigation linked the recipients to problematic or illicit activity,” stated NBC News, which reviewed the DOD report.
The reasons for those revocations included “questionable financial transactions, influence by foreign governments and even felonies like pedophilia.”
Yes, it looks like the oh-so-competent Obama administration handed out high level security clearances to people who had committed appalling crimes… and it wasn’t fixed until recently.
“In one example, a person given interim secret clearance in 2015 was discovered in 2017 to have been found guilty of raping a child prior to applying for the clearance,” NBC News reported.
How does a conviction for child rape go unnoticed by a federal agency during a background check?
It seems almost inconceivable that even a rudimentary criminal history review would fail to turn this up, which raises serious questions about how many of these clearances were simply rubber-stamped by bureaucrats.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that the percentage of revoked clearances is relatively small. However, the number of people who were given clearances they shouldn’t have received is still measured in the hundreds.
“The report captured data from 200,000 applications for secret or top secret clearance by defense contractors over the past three years, many of which were not fully adjudicated until 2017,” NBC explained.
“It found that 486 applicants had their clearances denied or revoked. Of those applicants, 165 had slipped through the initial round of vetting and been allowed access to sensitive information.”
The Obama administration, of course, has been accused of not taking security seriously during several well known scandals.
During the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking incident, for example, federal agents purposely provided deadly weapons to Mexican drug cartels… and then promptly lost track of the guns. Those firearms were later used to commit crimes against both Mexican and American citizens.
Then there was Benghazi, where the Obama administration ignored repeated requests from the ambassador in Libya for more security. Ambassador Stevens and several other Americans were brutally killed as a result.
More recently, the “Uranium One” scandal is still unraveling. There is strong evidence that the Obama administration bent guidelines and fast-tracked the transfer of key uranium supplies to Russia, despite major red flags about the wisdom of doing so.
There was a disturbing trend within the 44th president’s administration, and it was this: National security seemed to constantly take second place to political gamesmanship and questionable schemes.
There may be a new occupant in the White House, but many remnants of the Obama era still remain. The safety of the country should come before politics, and the American people deserve answers to this alarming report about clearances.
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