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WH security clearances
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Today Sarah Sanders blamed the FBI and intelligence agencies for delays to WH security clearances. But the FBI doesn't determine security clearances. They do the background checks and then pass that information to the WH or other agencies to make the determination on whether to grant the security clearances or not. If the WH had any questions for the FBI pertaining to their high level staff, these would likely be answered very quickly by the FBI. This means it was unlikely the FBI was responsible for holding up the process, which means Sarah Sanders is likely not telling the truth. She would not answer questions about who knew what when about Porter, saying only "we only learned of the full allegations recently." The collective "we."

McGhan reportedly knew of the allegations against Porter in November and, according to The NY Times, citing at least one source, he told the FBI "let's see what happens."

And why were those with partial security clearances given access to highly sensitive information?

One theory is that knowing they should not create a paper trail of granting a full security clearance where the FBI background check has information that should preclude one, instead the WH has intentionally left these security clearances in limbo, meanwhile granting access to highly sensitive and/or classified information to these individuals.
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Re: WH security clearances [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives. The interim clearance is effective while the investigation is carried out, and then the clearance is finalized. It’s not unusual for this process to take months, during which the person has access to information just as they will when their clearance is finalized.

Interim clearance also does not result in any missing paper trail. Interim clearances are documented the same way a final clearance is documented. If someone wants to minimize paper trail, they have to cheat the documentation, not keep people in interim clearance statuses.

It is unusual for interim clearances to last for as long as some of these people in the White House have reportedly had them. As I’ve said before in other threads, that part bothers me, and calls into question how seriously the White House treats sensitive national security information.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: WH security clearances [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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I'm curious, have you ever been through the process of a clearance? And an advanced clearance?
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Re: WH security clearances [JD21] [ In reply to ]
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JD21 wrote:
I'm curious, have you ever been through the process of a clearance? And an advanced clearance?

Are you asking that question because Kay keeps posting incorrect statements in spite of Slowguy's patient corrections?
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Re: WH security clearances [rick_pcfl] [ In reply to ]
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It’s always best to understand where someone is coming from before explaining. I’ve held up through TS in the past and have been through the whole process. My nephew worked for a firm that did background work in recent years for clearances (he’s now a federal agent).

If can be cumbersome to explain to someone who doesn’t have direct experience/knowledge, particularly if they’re relying on MSM snippets to learn the facts.

That’s why I’m asking.
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Re: WH security clearances [JD21] [ In reply to ]
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If you have knowledge that can contribute to the discussion then please share it. I do not have direct knowledge of the WH security clearance process. I have consulted for the CIA and I'm sure they did some background checks on me, but I was not required to provide any special information to them ahead of time.
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Re: WH security clearances [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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slowguy wrote:
That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives.


Umm, no. You cannot get an interim clearance to TS/SCI information (yes I know that is like saying PIN number). So no, the interim clearance does not give the same access as a full clearance.

Rob Porter as staff secretary is responsible for all the information that flows to the president. This is normally one of handful of whitehouse jobs that requires access to TS/SCI.

There is also a limit to how long you can have an interim clearance, 180 days with one 180 day extension. Looks like his interim clearance had expired before he was fired/resigned.
Last edited by: chaparral: Feb 12, 18 21:22
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Re: WH security clearances [rick_pcfl] [ In reply to ]
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rick_pcfl wrote:
JD21 wrote:
I'm curious, have you ever been through the process of a clearance? And an advanced clearance?


Are you asking that question because Kay keeps posting incorrect statements in spite of Slowguy's patient corrections?

Slowguy was not correct.
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Re: WH security clearances [chaparral] [ In reply to ]
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chaparral wrote:
slowguy wrote:
That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives.


Umm, no. You cannot get an interim clearance to TS/SCI information (yes I know that is like saying PIN number). So no, the interim clearance does not give the same access as a full clearance.

Rob Porter as staff secretary is responsible for all the information that flows to the president. This is normally one of handful of whitehouse jobs that requires access to TS/SCI.

There is also a limit to how long you can have an interim clearance, 180 days with one 180 day extension. Looks like his interim clearance had expired before he was fired/resigned.

I said this before: I could get nowhere near my new project at Boeing until my TS clearance was given. In fact, they couldn't even tell me what the project was. I would *hope* the same applies to people working at the WH whose positions require a TS.

----------------------------------
"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: WH security clearances [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Ya, an interim clearance only applies to collateral classified information, not information you need a special caveat for. Pretty much anything at Boeing is going to be program specific making the interim worthless. I have had several clearances with multiple agencies and each time I was granted an interim, and each time it meant nothing, still couldn't work until the full clearance was granted and then the program approved me.

As for time, OPM is a fickle little bitch. I think they stop work more often then European railway workers. I my last TS review took about 2 years, while the initial investigation took only a few months, but my initial secret took over a year. really just depends on what OPM feels like and what budget/political battle is going on. After the navy yard shooting everything came to a grinding halt for a while.

Part of me wants to think that WH staff get moved to the front of the line because of their positions, but the other part of me wants them to wait in line with everybody else, no special treatment so they get to see how the system really works.
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Re: WH security clearances [chaparral] [ In reply to ]
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chaparral wrote:
slowguy wrote:
That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives.


Umm, no. You cannot get an interim clearance to TS/SCI information (yes I know that is like saying PIN number). So no, the interim clearance does not give the same access as a full clearance.

Rob Porter as staff secretary is responsible for all the information that flows to the president. This is normally one of handful of whitehouse jobs that requires access to TS/SCI.

There is also a limit to how long you can have an interim clearance, 180 days with one 180 day extension. Looks like his interim clearance had expired before he was fired/resigned.

Umm, no.

First, SCI eligibility isn't a clearance. An interim TS clearance grants to you the same access to TS level information as a final TS clearance. You would need to take additional steps to have access to SCI information. SCI information can exist at Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret levels. The clearance level is a separate thing from access to SCI.

Second, there are, in point of fact, processes and provisions in place for granting of interim access to SCI information. In general, it's only granted during war time, emergencies, or "exceptional circumstances," with that last category leaving much to the interpretation of the President in a case like this.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: WH security clearances [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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slowguy wrote:
chaparral wrote:
slowguy wrote:
That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives.


Umm, no. You cannot get an interim clearance to TS/SCI information (yes I know that is like saying PIN number). So no, the interim clearance does not give the same access as a full clearance.

Rob Porter as staff secretary is responsible for all the information that flows to the president. This is normally one of handful of whitehouse jobs that requires access to TS/SCI.

There is also a limit to how long you can have an interim clearance, 180 days with one 180 day extension. Looks like his interim clearance had expired before he was fired/resigned.


Umm, no.

First, SCI eligibility isn't a clearance. An interim TS clearance grants to you the same access to TS level information as a final TS clearance. You would need to take additional steps to have access to SCI information. SCI information can exist at Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret levels. The clearance level is a separate thing from access to SCI.

Second, there are, in point of fact, processes and provisions in place for granting of interim access to SCI information. In general, it's only granted during war time, emergencies, or "exceptional circumstances," with that last category leaving much to the interpretation of the President in a case like this.

Exactly, you need to take extra steps to get access to SCI, which means that the interim clearance does not give you access to the same information as the final clearance. That is what I was disagreeing with your original statement.

With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.
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Re: WH security clearances [JD21] [ In reply to ]
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I for one am gratified to see the shock! outrage! and demand for accountability from our left leaning Press on this potential breach of National Security information.

Our resident DU bot (Kay) will be along shortly with today's talking points.

Steve
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Re: WH security clearances [chaparral] [ In reply to ]
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chaparral wrote:
With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.

This was my point about the WH not necessarily wanting to create a 'paper trail.' If the WH has been told about Porter's risks, and nevertheless grants him a full security clearance, then there could be repercussions in the future. But if they leave the issue in limbo then they have 'plausible deniability' (like Sanders saying the FBI is holding up the process).
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Re: WH security clearances [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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Kay Serrar wrote:
chaparral wrote:
With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.

This was my point about the WH not necessarily wanting to create a 'paper trail.' If the WH has been told about Porter's risks, and nevertheless grants him a full security clearance, then there could be repercussions in the future. But if they leave the issue in limbo then they have 'plausible deniability' (like Sanders saying the FBI is holding up the process).

Director Wray just basically said the
WH lied about Porter in Senate testimony. Said the FBI had closed his security clearance file. Submitted a partial report in march completed it in July. Provided more information in November in response to a request then closed it in January. So once again this White House just lies.
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Re: WH security clearances [chaparral] [ In reply to ]
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Exactly, you need to take extra steps to get access to SCI, which means that the interim clearance does not give you access to the same information as the final clearance. That is what I was disagreeing with your original statement.

You're mixing up to separate issues. The first issue is clearance. There are Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret clearances. The second issue is SCI eligibility. When you say you have TS/SCI access, that means you have a TS clearance, and separately, you have SCI eligibility. You don't have to have any kind of TS clearance to have SCI eligibility. You could have S/SCI or C/SCI.

Having an interim clearance grants you access to the same information that having a final clearance would. You separately have to be deemed eligible for access to SCI.

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But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.

I don't disagree with any of this, and stated my similar concerns earlier.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: WH security clearances [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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Kay Serrar wrote:
chaparral wrote:

With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.


This was my point about the WH not necessarily wanting to create a 'paper trail.' If the WH has been told about Porter's risks, and nevertheless grants him a full security clearance, then there could be repercussions in the future. But if they leave the issue in limbo then they have 'plausible deniability' (like Sanders saying the FBI is holding up the process).

Again, no. Leaving his clearance in an interim status does not give plausible deniability. Interim clearances are tracked and entered into the same systems that final clearances are. There is a person (or team of people) assigned to track all clearances for any particular organization, including interim and final, and then usually a separate person who tracks SCI eligibility. They are responsible for letting you know when your clearance is getting close to expiration so you can renew it, for processing the paperwork for new or renewed, or cancelled clearances, etc.

Giving people an interim clearance doesn't really result in less of a paper trail.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: WH security clearances [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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slowguy wrote:
Kay Serrar wrote:
chaparral wrote:

With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.


This was my point about the WH not necessarily wanting to create a 'paper trail.' If the WH has been told about Porter's risks, and nevertheless grants him a full security clearance, then there could be repercussions in the future. But if they leave the issue in limbo then they have 'plausible deniability' (like Sanders saying the FBI is holding up the process).


Again, no. Leaving his clearance in an interim status does not give plausible deniability. Interim clearances are tracked and entered into the same systems that final clearances are. There is a person (or team of people) assigned to track all clearances for any particular organization, including interim and final, and then usually a separate person who tracks SCI eligibility. They are responsible for letting you know when your clearance is getting close to expiration so you can renew it, for processing the paperwork for new or renewed, or cancelled clearances, etc.

Giving people an interim clearance doesn't really result in less of a paper trail.

So if the information reported today here is correct, what should the WH have done with Porter and when?
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Re: WH security clearances [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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Kay Serrar wrote:
slowguy wrote:
Kay Serrar wrote:
chaparral wrote:

With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.


This was my point about the WH not necessarily wanting to create a 'paper trail.' If the WH has been told about Porter's risks, and nevertheless grants him a full security clearance, then there could be repercussions in the future. But if they leave the issue in limbo then they have 'plausible deniability' (like Sanders saying the FBI is holding up the process).


Again, no. Leaving his clearance in an interim status does not give plausible deniability. Interim clearances are tracked and entered into the same systems that final clearances are. There is a person (or team of people) assigned to track all clearances for any particular organization, including interim and final, and then usually a separate person who tracks SCI eligibility. They are responsible for letting you know when your clearance is getting close to expiration so you can renew it, for processing the paperwork for new or renewed, or cancelled clearances, etc.

Giving people an interim clearance doesn't really result in less of a paper trail.


So if the information reported today here is correct, what should the WH have done with Porter and when?


My take is this. The White House / Transition team should have vetted Mr. Porter more effectively before hiring him to begin with. I wouldn't want to have people in my administration with the stink of domestic abuse on them. That said, let's move forward assuming the timeline in the linked article is accurate.

Let's assume that the WH did their due diligence, and for whatever reason, the issue of domestic abuse was not revealed during the hiring process, i.e. they hired him in good faith. Upon hiring him, they would have granted him an interim clearance which would include signing non-disclosure agreements and paperwork acknowledging what his clearance meant and the penalties for violating the law regarding disclosure of classified information. He should have also received basic training (documented in a personnel file) about classified information, control of that information, how clearances work, etc. All of his paperwork and training would be documented in the systems that are established for that purpose. To get even this far, Mr. Porter would have had to fill in a pretty extensive set of forms giving all his background information, where he's lived, who he's known, and issues with the law, foreign contacts, etc. Domestic violence is, if I remember correctly, specifically spelled out on the form, but he might not have disclosed it because he was never actually charged or convicted on domestic violence. During his background investigation, he would be interviewed about his responses on the form, and the investigator would likely ask him if there were any other issues he wanted to make known, and he should have disclosed the domestic issues at the point, if he didn't do so on the forms previously. If he was granted access to SCI programs, he would have been read in, separately signing paperwork acknowledging his responsibilities to safeguard that info.

In March, when the initial results of the partial investigation were made available to the WH, it might be reasonable to ask for more detail, call Mr. Porter in to try to figure out what the real story was, and then either give more time for the full investigation to be completed, or err on the side of caution and find someone else to do the job, either firing Mr. Porter or finding a job where he wouldn't have access to national security information. His initial interim clearance would be valid until June timeframe, so there wouldn't be any issues with expiration at that point. However, I might be inclined to get rid of him, especially if it turned out that he hadn't disclosed the domestic issues of his own free will.

When the completed investigation was provided to the WH in June, Mr. Porter would be coming up on expiration of his initial interim clearance. Based on the results of that completed investigation, I think the WH should have let Mr. Porter go, removed his interim clearance, and taken away any access he had to classified information. He would have again had to review and probably sign or re-initial paperwork acknowledging his responsibility to continue to safeguard any classified information he was exposed to during his time in the WH, and all of this would again be documented. If he had been read into any SCI programs, he would have to separately be read back out, again signing paperwork acknowledging his responsibilities to safeguard that information.

In this case, the WH apparently asked for additional background information to make a decision. Assuming they had a legitimate and logical reason to ask for that additional investigation, they should have granted an extension to his interim clearance at the 180 day mark (this would be documented). Then in November, when they received the update, they should have again taken the steps outlined above to remove Mr. Porter's access and move him to a job where he didn't have to deal with classified information, or fire him outright.

Off the top of my head, that's probably about what could/should have happened.

The amount of paperwork involved in getting a clearance is significant, and you do all of it even if you only have an interim clearance, because that paperwork follows with you when your final clearance is granted. Leaving his, and other people's, clearances in an interim status doesn't really result in a lack of paper trail. The only way the paper trail goes away is if someone (institutionally, like the clearance manager) just decides not to do any of it, which would be a bigger issue, and not directly related to interim or final status.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
Last edited by: slowguy: Feb 13, 18 10:03
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Re: WH security clearances [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks. Today's WH press briefing will be interesting...
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Re: WH security clearances [chaparral] [ In reply to ]
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chaparral wrote:
slowguy wrote:
chaparral wrote:
slowguy wrote:
That’s not how clearances work. There’s no such thing as a partial clearance. People are granted an interim clearance when they first enter a job that requires clearance, or sometimes when they need a higher clearance than they already have. That interim clearance is a full clearance. It gives the same access to information that a final clearance gives.


Umm, no. You cannot get an interim clearance to TS/SCI information (yes I know that is like saying PIN number). So no, the interim clearance does not give the same access as a full clearance.

Rob Porter as staff secretary is responsible for all the information that flows to the president. This is normally one of handful of whitehouse jobs that requires access to TS/SCI.

There is also a limit to how long you can have an interim clearance, 180 days with one 180 day extension. Looks like his interim clearance had expired before he was fired/resigned.


Umm, no.

First, SCI eligibility isn't a clearance. An interim TS clearance grants to you the same access to TS level information as a final TS clearance. You would need to take additional steps to have access to SCI information. SCI information can exist at Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret levels. The clearance level is a separate thing from access to SCI.

Second, there are, in point of fact, processes and provisions in place for granting of interim access to SCI information. In general, it's only granted during war time, emergencies, or "exceptional circumstances," with that last category leaving much to the interpretation of the President in a case like this.


Exactly, you need to take extra steps to get access to SCI, which means that the interim clearance does not give you access to the same information as the final clearance. That is what I was disagreeing with your original statement.

With regards to your second point, I think you are correct. Since the President is the ultimate authority for classification, he may be able to just say that person should get access. But, that means that we can judge whether the president made a good decision in doing so. You don't want to give someone access to this information if they can be blackmailed and since this information once public led to him losing his job, that was good blackmail material. So the president being aware of this blackmail material, or at least should have been aware, it is very questionable why he was given access to the information. It is not like he is the only person in the world that can do this job.
Sort of a moot point if the president is already vulnerable to being blackmailed or coerced, which seems likely.
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Re: WH security clearances [xtremrun] [ In reply to ]
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Director Wray just basically said the WH lied about Porter in Senate testimony.

I wonder if there is anyone who believes anything coming out of the Whitehouse.

I mean, it's possible I guess but it doesn't seem likely.


You're such a Trump ball washer! - Duffy - Feb 8, 17 13:18
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Re: WH security clearances [Sanuk] [ In reply to ]
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Sanuk wrote:
Director Wray just basically said the WH lied about Porter in Senate testimony.

I wonder if there is anyone who believes anything coming out of the Whitehouse.

I mean, it's possible I guess but it doesn't seem likely.

I know quite a few of the Fox News brainwashed minions who believe everything that comes out of the White House. #sad
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Re: WH security clearances [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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i am baffled as to what is going on?

https://www.cnn.com/...ite-house/index.html

current circumstances (as depicted by CNN) defy the rules as i understand them; just as they defied the rules as pertains to HRC and 'wiping' drives and air gaping SAP info---such arrogance.

Just had to go thru a metric shit ton of shit to get re-certified and re-verified.

JEEZ!?

Steve
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Re: WH security clearances [Steve Hawley] [ In reply to ]
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Steve Hawley wrote:
i am baffled as to what is going on?

https://www.cnn.com/...ite-house/index.html

current circumstances (as depicted by CNN) defy the rules as i understand them; just as they defied the rules as pertains to HRC and 'wiping' drives and air gaping SAP info---such arrogance.

Just had to go thru a metric shit ton of shit to get re-certified and re-verified.

JEEZ!?

It's obviously a uuuuggggeeeee conspiracy to keep the man down. Has nothing to do with having dirty friends and associates.
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