Kay Serrar wrote:
Kay Serrar 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.
(insert pithy phrase here...)