In its stories on January 5, 2017, and also on January 10, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon for-profit online newspaper has reported that “Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser who led the administration’s efforts to mislead Congress about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is under [Congressional] scrutiny in the wake of disclosures he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008 …”
Under the circumstances, Congress is properly trying to determine if Rhodes was cleared by the FBI to receive access to national security information. Specifically, Congress wants to know if Rhodes had been denied an interim security clearance.
Being denied a security clearance after an appropriate background investigation has been completed and adjudicated is different from simply not applying for the security clearance. Clearances are generally denied when the applicant is unsuitable to hold the clearance. (more…)
By now readers probably know that Katherine Archuleta, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), resigned Friday. Her politically-expedient “resignation” was inevitable after the compromise of sensitive information in the personnel files of at least 21.5 million present and former federal employees, files OPM is responsible for securely maintaining and storing. The feds suspect that the Ministry of State Security of the People’s Republic of China, the Guojia Anquan Bu or Guoanbu, is behind the data breach.
Ho-hum. We’ve heard this all before — same song, different orchestra. This time, the amount of data swiped was huge, but so what? Should you or I really care if the Guoanbu filched a ton of Social Security numbers from OPM? No. And yes.
No, because it’s doubtful the Chicoms intend to raid Social Security’s funds (Besides, Congress beat them to it years ago.)
Yes, because if the hack was committed by the Guoanbu or any other competent foreign intelligence agency, the files they got were very sensitive investigative files on applicants for US government security clearances and special accesses. Investigative files — information uncovered during the course of an applicant’s background investigation — not just Social Security numbers. Those files would include credible derogatory information that might reflect on the applicant’s suitability to have access to sensitive classified and special access information affecting the national security. In most instances some of those investigative files are off-limits to even the applicant. That’s precisely the information a foreign intelligence service would love to get its hands on when its case officers are spotting prospective Americans who might be persuaded or induced to betray the United States. (more…)