Thursday, October 30, 2008

Would Barack Obama qualify for a security clearance?

Let's pretend for a moment that Barack Obama, instead of pursuing a career in politics, decided to pursue one in civil service, say as an attorney at one of the intelligence agencies. For all we know he did consider that career option but rejected the notion knowing that he wouldn't have survived the security screening necessary for such a position. After 27 years in the military and getting my initial clearance granted at the tender age of 18, I know a little bit about the process.

Many things are considered when deciding whether to grant an applicant a security clearance, such as financial status, criminal records, drug use and past associations. And the degree to which these things are scrutinized varies with the level of clearance. There are only two levels of clearance; Secret and Top Secret. A secret clearance is necessary for all but a few jobs in the military. A top secret clearance is necessary for more sensitive positions, such as communications, intelligence, operations, and the like. At top secret, there are special areas of access which may be required based on duty assignment. Think of this as "classified", "holy shit! classified" and "holy fucking shit! classified". The higher the classification level, the deeper the anal probing to get cleared for it.

Obama has admitted to past drug use, and even joked that unlike Bill Clinton, he did inhale because that was the whole point. He also admitted to having used cocaine. This might be enough to disqualify him from a security clearance. Contrary to popular belief, admitted past drug use doesn't automatically disqualify an applicant from getting a clearance. If, on the other hand, the applicant doesn't admit to it and it's discovered during the course of the investigation, game over. Not only will the clearance not be granted, but the applicant may end up in Club Fed for making false official statements. In any event, it's up to the adjudicator to decide whether the past drug use admitted to by the applicant disqualifies him, and the adjudicator will take into consideration things like age at the time of use, duration of the "experimentation", etc.

Of far greater concern to the adjudicator are past and present associations and affiliations. These are clear indicators of an applicant's loyalty (or lack thereof) to the United States or of possible criminal activity. Just based on what we know of Obama's associations with Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi and Tony Rezko, no adjudicator would seriously consider granting a clearance to Barack Obama. Throw in his early ties to the New Party and it's a deal-breaker. He probably wouldn't get a clearance for "classified", never mind "holy fucking shit! classified".

If Barack Obama were enlisting in the Army, he'd be assigned a job in the mess hall, yet he wants to be Commander in Chief of all the US Armed Forces.

Scared? too.

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