by Rand Simberg:
So the latest scandal in the Obama administration (almost simultaneously with the GSA insanity, and isn’t it hilarious that history professor and political prognosticator Allan Lichtman thought as recently as this past November that this administration had no significant scandals?) is Secret Service agents behaving badly in Cartagena, resulting in the loss of their security clearances. The article doesn’t explain why, so some might think that this is a punishment. Without their clearances, after all, they won’t be able to perform their duties, and are essentially out of a job.
But the reason that their clearances have been pulled is that they can no longer be relied upon to keep secrets. Their behavior had compromised their ability to do so and potentially opened them up to blackmail. Of course, ironically, now that everyone knows what they were doing, this is no longer an issue. Interestingly, for years during the Cold War, homosexuals were denied security clearances for exactly this reason (in addition to then-notions of moral turpitude), though eventually the ban was lifted in the Clinton administration (presumably as long as they were out of the closet, and thus not susceptible to having a secret revealed).
But the incident raises interesting questions about the standards for providing clearances, and how stringent we are in enforcing them. For instance, consider presidents.
Arguably, had they not been elected president, neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama would have been able to obtain even the most basic secret clearance, based on their life history.
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