Occasionally, events occur that shake us to our core. Much of personal character is defined by how we react in such circumstances. The same goes for nations as well.
America has always responded well; we’ve set things right, pursuing the root causes of our failures to replace them with wise choices so we don’t repeat the same mistake again and again.
Frequently though – whether in our personal lives or as a nation – events have consequences that are overlooked. It is these unforeseen consequences that often prove to be far more dangerous than the original event.
The FBI’s failure to recommend prosecution for Hillary Clinton’s egregious mishandling of highly classified information is one such event.
My father held the highest level security clearance possible for his entire career, with enough SAP (Special Access Program) designators to make for a small book.
An SAP is a category of Top Secret relating to the “need to know” for whomever holds a clearance. Because of the nature of my father’s work, he had access across multiple SAP’s, which enabled him to access the information necessary to do his job.
The reason for all this compartmentalizing of information and access is to greatly reduce the number of people who have a “whole picture” view of our national security operations.
Even though my father was one of those who had “whole picture” understanding (his career was spent building much of that apparatus) he always knew that his career, his liberty and possibly, even his life were forfeit should he reveal what he knew, or fail to safeguard the information under his control.
During my military service, I too held a Top Secret clearance with an SAP designation permitting me to access information regarding my mission across all of NATO. Just like my father, I knew the consequences of failure to safeguard the information to which I was privy.
You see, it isn’t enough for us to ask our clearance holders to simply not offer classified information to those who shouldn’t have it, we require much more than that to remain secure. Every clearance holder has an affirmative duty to safeguard that information, under penalty of law. FBI Director Comey’s contention that lack of intent to violate the law is somehow relevant to prosecution under the law is spurious.
The blatant and dismissive abuse of power revealed by the FBI’s refusal to recommend prosecution for clearly prosecutable crimes has far greater consequences than a mere election. Politicians come and go, but the system of justice remains, and that system has been exposed as corrupt, in the most revolting of ways – with a figurative middle-finger aimed at all of us who yet cling to the apparent fiction that no one is above the law.
The 30,000-foot view is frightening indeed. It isn’t Hillary. It isn’t the Clinton Foundation, nor is it Obama and the Democrats. It is the thousands of clearance holders who have taken their oaths seriously and followed the law, sometimes at the cost of their lives, to safeguard this nation’s secrets who are now given pause to reflect on their obligations to maintain that essential secrecy the next time they are approached by an agent looking for a way in.
My father was approached many times in his career by agents, both foreign and domestic, seeking access to classified information. Clearance holders are trained to spot these approaches before they become overt, and know how to report them to the proper authorities for investigation.
Even I, (far down the classified information food-chain from my father) was approached; once for information I possessed, and another time for information about my father. Both were duly reported and did not reoccur.
However, my Commander-in-Chief was Ronald Reagan during my military service and I had complete confidence that my chain of command adhered to the same standards as I, regarding our affirmative duty to protect what we knew.
Now that every clearance holder realizes today, that the secrets for which they were willing to die to protect are now for sale, with impunity I may add, can we be surprised if the next approach from a foreign agent comes with the pitch “Your leaders are already selling info, we’re going to find it anyway, why shouldn’t you get paid too?”
Can we blame them if the thought crosses their mind?
This is the inevitable consequence of corruption, the fact that it breeds further corruption. I imagine foreign powers across the globe are already telling their agents to start spreading the cash…it is to our eternal shame, and likely destruction, that our own government has given its citizens reason to listen to offers.