Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Some Question Whether Rove Should Retain Security Clearance

A growing number of politicians and intelligence experts are questioning whether Senior White House Advisor Karl Rove should retain his security clearance, in light of the ongoing Plame-gate investigation.

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) joined Democrats last week in questioning whether the advisor should retain his policymaking post, telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "The question is, should he be the deputy chief of staff for policy under the current circumstances?" Democrats have called repeatedly for the revocation of Rove's clearance.

Rove is said to have one of the highest levels of clearance -- a special subset within the group cleared to see top-secret documents. This high clearance is called TS/SCI clearance — which stands for Top-Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information.

***

Lower-level government employees have lost security clearance when suspected of wrongdoing, according to Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who has represented more than three dozen intelligence officers in security clearance cases.

Those cases include:

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

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

-- An 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.

"The agencies can move without hesitating when they even suspect a breach of the rules has occurred, much less an actual breach of information," Zaid told the Los Angeles Times.

***

Rove, under federal investigation for his role in the exposure of a covert CIA officer, continues to enjoy full access to government secrets.

White House communications director Nicolle Wallace told the Washington Post last week that there have not been any White House meetings to discuss Rove's fate, and that the senior adviser is actively engaged and "doing an outstanding job." She said "there is no debate" over Rove's future.

But those interviewed by the Times said that the White House should take the question of security clearance more seriously. They say that the fate of Rove's security clearance should not depend on Fitzgerald's conclusions — and that the White House should err on the side of caution rather than on technical questions of Rove's legal culpability.

"This president, who has raised to the top of the priority list the issue of national security, certainly should be concerned if any evidence has been developed that would indicate misuse of classified information by any member of his team, certainly somebody as high as Mr. Rove," former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) told the Times.

Barr, a former CIA official and federal prosecutor, said the Justice Department should examine Rove's actions, apart from the Fitzgerald probe, to determine specifically whether Rove's security classification should be stripped.

Retired Navy Adm. Stansfield Turner, who was director of the CIA during the Carter administration, told the Times that Rove's actions needed to be "fully aired" and reviewed by intelligence and Justice Department officials.

Turner acknowledged that revoking or suspending Rove's secret clearance would "almost certainly end his usefulness as a top White House aide" and would be a "drastic step." But, he said, "you can't hold lower-level people accountable for possible leaks and not act when leaks occur at a higher level."

8 Comments:

Anonymous electropop said...

Retain his clearance?!!?!?

He shouldn't retain his freedom. Why the hell is he not in jail yet?

11:28 AM  
Anonymous MookieWilson said...

With clearances you're guilty until proven innocent. It's not debatable.

REVOKE his clearance.

You can lose your clearance if:

You go into financial debt.
Someone ELSE in your office is under suspicion.
Someone you know is under suspicion.

It doesn't even have to be you. You lose your clearance.

It's absurd that Rove still has his.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous tridim said...

I'm still upset that he was granted clearance in the first place

Are all presidential advisers rushed through the process? Or just Bush advisers? I certainly would balk at giving a weasel like Rove high level clearance just based on his history with Poppy.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Mary Willstonecraft said...

If Sandy Burgler still has his clearance, surely Rove can retain his. At least Rove didn't steal top secret documents. But, I guess if revealing the name of a glorified secretary for the CIA is a crime, then Rove should lose his clearance. Man, look how the Liberals have warped America's priorities. It's scary.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Good call, Mary.

Because, as we know, the special prosecutor appointed by the Republican President must certainly be a flaming liberal. And the CIA, who asked the Justice Department to look into the Plame affair? Liberals. And Bush's Justice Department, who called on Bush to appoint Fitzgerald? All liberals.

Yes, liberals certainly have had a lot to do with the case against Rove.

Way to go, Mary. You certainly understand the situation -- about as well as Rush Limbaugh has explained it to you.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Chandira said...

Hey Electropop, I think I'm with you on that one... Doh! NO question..

3:15 PM  
Anonymous ash said...

Oh, I get it: Mary Quite Contrary. Unfortunately, assuming the moniker does not confer aptness upon you.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Meg said...

I resent how close her name is to someone much more bright:).

7:32 PM  

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