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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Security Clearances

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's approach to governing The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
-- Machiavelli

From the House Committee on Oversight and Reform:
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, revealed that a whistleblower who currently works inside the White House Security Office sat for a confidential, on-the-record, day-long interview with Democratic and Republican Committee staff to relay grave concerns about the dysfunction she has witnessed over the past two years, highlight the dangers these actions present to national security, and implore the Committee to immediately conduct independent oversight of these matters.
The revelation came in a letter Cummings sent this morning to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone announcing that the Committee is moving forward with compulsory process since the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single requested witness over the many months since the Committee launched the investigation.
“In light of the grave reports from this whistleblower—and the ongoing refusal of the White House to provide the information we need to conduct our investigation—the Committee now plans to proceed with compulsory process and begin authorizing subpoenas, starting at tomorrow’s business meeting,” Cummings wrote in his letter to the White House. “The Committee respects the President’s authority to grant security clearances. However, the White House must respect Congress’ co-equal and independent authority to investigate who has been given access to our nation’s secrets, how they obtained that access, the extent to which national security has been compromised, and whether Congress should amend current laws to improve national security and enhance transparency over these decisions.”
Cummings explained that the whistleblower “has come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress—and the nation—about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years.” According to Cummings’ letter: “She has informed the Committee that during the Trump Administration, she and other career officials adjudicated denials of dozens of applications for security clearances that were later overturned.”
Cummings also released a memo to Committee Members detailing the troubling concerns raised by the whistleblower.
On why she came forward: “I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security.”

On the impact to national security: Security clearance applications for White House officials “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security.”

On White House retaliation: “I’m terrified of going back. I know that this will not be perceived in favor of my intentions, which is to bring back the integrity of the office.”

On need for Congress to act now: “this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”


The Committee will not be releasing the full transcript at this time.
Click here to read the letter from Cummings to the White House.
Click here to read the memo from Cummings to Committee Members.