Several of you all last night, as well as in the past year, have asked me about how the President’s (or during 2016 then a candidate) personnel choices might get clearances given the lingering questions regarding connections to Russia or business conflicts, especially foreign and foreign government (PRC backed banks) contacts. Here’s the Office of Personnel Management’s Credentialing, Suitability, and Security Clearance Decision-Making Guide. This is from 2008, but I haven’t found a more recent one posted. It will tell you everything you need to know, including the whole of person assessment concept used when assessing and adjudicating whether someone should be eligible for a security clearance.
The reality for political appointments is a bit different. Bradley P. Moss, one of the partners at the Law Office of Mark S. Zaid, a practice that specializes in cases regarding security clearances (I’ve never had to use them, but my understanding is they are the best if you have a problem), wrote a very thoughtful essay laying out all the considerations and concerns regarding these issues in regard to the new President and his potential appointees. He provides, I think, the simplest answer to many of your questions:
With his selection of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to serve as national security adviser, his continued consideration of retired Gen. David Petraeus for a possible administration position, and his reported selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State, President-elect Donald Trump is picking people whom, I believe, would normally face challenges getting a security clearance. To get them into the highest levels of government, Trump appears determined to see just how far he can push the boundaries of executive authority in terms of access to classified information. In doing so, Trump has simultaneously denigrated the reality faced by countless rank and file employees and contractors within the intelligence community.
Trump himself will not have to undergo security vetting and he cannot be denied access to classified information. As president and commander-in-chief, he is entitled to access any and all classified information he wants. The security vetting he underwent was being elected.
The same is not true of his senior staff and cabinet selections, who also have to be separately confirmed by the Senate. As president, Trump can theoretically order any of his senior staff or cabinet officers to be granted a security clearance, no matter what concerns are raised during the security vetting. That is a privilege afforded to every president by way of their Article II authority under the U.S. Constitution. It is a privilege many expected Hillary Clinton might have had to exercise if she had been elected president and had chose her longtime advisers, Cheryl Mills or Huma Abedin (both of whom were implicated by FBI Director Comey’s “extreme recklessness” comments), for positions requiring security clearances.
I highly recommend clicking across and reading the whole thing. It will be worth the few minutes time as we move into the weekend wondering what more information may leak out about Trump campaign, transition, and now Administration officials connections with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Accompanied by 8 years of hearings and Andrea Mitchell whining every day.
Adam L Silverman
@Baud: But of course. Just because you don’t like reading this, doesn’t mean it wasn’t true.
Adam L Silverman
I’m off to the gym. You all have fun!
I see we have an unconventional stomp.
Memo from a key congressman outlines plan to gut Dodd-Frank bank rules
Thursday, 9 Feb 2017 | 12:49 PM ET
House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling is strengthening his attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and scaling back regulations on bank living wills and stress tests in new legislation expected to be introduced soon, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.
The bill is more aggressive than the version of the Financial Choice Act passed by the committee last fall, with some of the biggest changes directed at the CFPB. The bill would turn the head of the consumer watchdog agency into a political appointee who can be dismissed at will rather than the director of an independent agency, the memo states. The previous bill called for a five-member commission to lead the CFPB.
According to the memo, the bill would strip the agency of its authority to bring cases against financial institutions under a provision known as unfair, deceptive and abusive practices, and eliminate databases of consumer complaints.
Can we impeach Trump and all the Republican members of Congress for aiding and abetting treason?
Citizens were supposedly upset at Hillary Clinton potentially putting classified information at risk by her use of a private server. Trump’s actions are potentially much worse.
The Moar You Know
Must read material. You all need to know (and it would have been nice for the majority of Americans to know) that the guy in the Oval Office can do anything he wants WRT classified info. Including shipping it all to Russia or China tomorrow, if he felt so inclined.
The Moar You Know
@Brachiator: Not legally. Trump IS the origin of classification authority. As I said above, if he decided to take all our “crown jewels” and send them to every hostile nation on Earth, no problem. Totally legal. He is not the state (l’état c’est moi), but he is the state’s secrecy (les secrets de l’etat sont moi.)
@The Moar You Know: You mean he or Flynn haven’t already? I haven’t seen much of a reaction on Twitter or Huffington from the GOP on this Flynn bombshell.
Now if Das Fuhrer does ship all of the info to his pal Vlaid, it may not be a felony, but certainly seems like it would fall within the the impeachment clause in the Constitution.
Standards for Impeachment. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Это курам на смех
OPM is the Office of Personnel Management, not Office of Professional Management.
@The Moar You Know: I’ll even go one further. A longtime friend of mine who worked for the State department in a number of administrations (including Bush I and Clinton) feels that once Congress funds and creates a weapons system — including nukes — the president has the authority to do with them as he pleases. This is not a fringe view.
Hi Adam, from what you posted in previous weeks, the weekly intelligence briefing does not have details. What you said today says Trump (or President Bannon through Trump) can demand details behind the briefings. I doubt that the process of asking for and delivering those details is “quiet” enough that the event will escape the notice of our spooks around the world. Even if those details are about something very mundane, the fact that it happens will alert everyone in harms way that the worst CAN happen. And with Bannon/Trump, the worst WILL happen.
Is there some tripwire for which our (soon to be former) allies publicly declare that there is a mole in the White House?
@Millard Filmore: I think the Israelis are already slowing intel. to Trump. No?
@The Moar You Know: Personally, I am sick and tired of Lawful Evil being the rule of the day, propped up by idiotic Lawful Good.
@EBT: Wouldn’t you give the Devil the benefit of Law?
On a related topic:
So, no photos of the pee-pee party yet.
@Immanentize: Legal chicanery seems to be about the only recourse one had versus ol scratch. the GOP is not the devil, they are simply evil racist people who hate poors. And used that hate to codify a shit ton of laws, to which everyone seems to hate but then just shrug and say “the law is the law and it must be followed no matter how bad”.
The glorious orange julius will not be failed, cannot fail, and will see no fail. The thing that is currently bothering me the most is the right wing apologia over the failed raid in Yemen. USA today failed to mention the 8 year old girl who was an American citizen, or the other nearly 30 other civilian casualties. There was also no mention of Yemen’s revocation of US military action. If our press will not speak we are doomed.
These things have made us much less safe, again…
@? Martin: Fake news! Sean Spicer said so, twice. And they deadpan reported that, too. Never thought I’d laugh out loud reading CNN.
Since it’s an open thread:
All options open on 9th Circuit immigration decision, sez DoJ lawyer in Virginia hearing
I think that’s just lawyer speak for “I’m not going to announce what we’re doing here in a lousy District Court hearing before the President says I can,” but take it for what it’s worth.
Iowa Old Lady
@Ian: Thanks, Obama.
(That will be their answer for years to come.)
@The Moar You Know:
Trump is the authority, but it doesn’t protect his staff from their bad actions. I don’t trust Flynn as far as I can throw him.
Most US media sources have this “thing” that is the dolt45 dossier. They won’t release it because 1)lawsuits, 2)lack of verification. My goal is too undermine said media sources because they continue to report on unverifiable things (2) and focused on ’emails’ rather than the actual problem.
@EBT: I was just thinking about A Man for All Seasons:
For the FrontPagers, a tweet involving Lady Justice and Dolt45
Iowa Old Lady
I so hope this is true. A report via a anonymous WH twitter account that Trump is considering withdrawing Gorsuch’s nomination because he criticized Trump. Please, FSM, let this not be fake news.
So the Republicans think there should be _more_ unfair, deceptive and abusive financial practices. Sounds about right.
@Iowa Old Lady: That would be hilarious and so in character with Trump. And of course it would open up an incredibly obvious line of questioning for whoever got the nomination next about their independence and willingness to possibly rule against the Trump admin…
The Moar You Know
@Iowa Old Lady: I’m sorry to say that I’m pretty sure it is fake. Gorsuch WANTS to be on the Supreme Court, I think every damn lawyer in the country grows up dreaming of that. He got permission to say it is my bet.
It’s not like he said anything even remotely controversial or insulting about Trump, after all. A headfake and cover. They think we’re idiots. Sad thing is, given who won the election, they’re right to think that.
So, to echo Brachiator above, the world conservatives live in is one where Hillary should have gone to jail for having 2 or 3 improperly classified emails on her server, but it’s A-OK for Trump to share classified information with whoever he wants because it’s technically legal?
Once again, conservatives have revealed themselves as people who are incapable of understanding that there are some things that it’s not okay to do just because they’re legal.
Iowa Old Lady
@The Moar You Know: You’re harshing my mellow.
@Iowa Old Lady: Would not surprise me, but replace with what/who?
@Iowa Old Lady: And my God…*such* criticism! Why he called one of Trump’s own criticisms “troubling”! Such power! Such a scathing retort! I could feel the sick burn from here!
I thought it was supposed to be “Fucking security clearances, how do they work?”
@chris: I loved the part where they say that he called them back specifically to say this is more fake news! I can picture it in my head, particularly since I just showed the Melissa McCarthy SNL Spicer skit to my husband last night. That guy must be losing his mind.
@The Moar You Know: I eh sort of tentatively disagree. If it was Pence, Ryan, Boehner, any of those guys in charge, yeah it could be a head fake. However it’s Trump with assistance from Bannon and what’s his name, the son in law. They really don’t get strategy or politics of governing and Trump has too thin a skin. I guess it’s possible but I really don’t see the talent for even that much planning.
Somebody’s tired of playing around:
@Mary G: H/T:
@Mary G: WTF happened to Tapper and Jenn Rubin? It makes me uneasy.
@Immanentize: Yes, Adam mentioned a while back that Israel expressed their concerns. Maybe in spookland that is what passes for a formal world wide press release.
@Baud: IKR? Who’s going to be the next worm to turn?
Now the 9th Circuit wants to rehear the Muslim Ban case en banc?
What would be the point of that… to send an even stronger message?
I’m starting to wonder if Billy Wilder’s old screenwriting maxim is coming into play with the media — give the audience two plus two and let them add it up to four and they’ll love you forever.
Now that the annoying libtards and Democrats aren’t nagging them to look at how bad the Republicans are, theyre finally realizing the Republicans are full of shit.
I guess it’s like when teenagers grow up and realize their parents were not, in fact, wrong about everything, only most things.
@cosima: I hope so, I really want to see his replacement since the bar has been set so low. I’ll bet the SNL writers are quivering with antici… pation.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@The Moar You Know: This is Trump the narcassist we’re talking about. They say Trump just scans the head line so Trump may not even realize Gorsuch is his own pick before screaming “He’s fired!”
@Mary G: Too funny!
It looks like one judge on the court asked for a poll of the judges to see if they want to rehear the case en banc. The court has asked for briefs on the topic, to be filed simultaneously next Thursday (quite a rush by normal standards, but not by the standards of this case). Once the briefs are filed, the judges will vote whether or not to rehear the case. This sort of (but not completely) pre-empts any decision by the feds about whether to ask for en banc consideration – they could ask the Supreme Court to hear the case and file a brief saying it should be decided at that level, for instance – but regardless it definitely gums up the works.
Usually, a rehearing is bad news for the party that won in the initial appeal, but in this case I’m not really sure it would make much difference. In the 9th Circuit, they don’t actually have the entire court hear en banc appeals, but instead they have the chief judge and 10 other judges drawn at random hear it. Given the composition of the 9th Circuit, getting a favorable group of 11 judges for a rehearing would require the feds to draw to a very inside straight, so to speak.
Mike in DC
Confirming some of the details of the dossier seems…significant. Particularly with the news about Flynn coming out at the same time.
It is no surprise to see evidence that the Republicans are absolutely 100% uterly corrupt. Nevertheless, it is still startling to see them brazenly run for public office on and overt platform of ensuring the right of Banks and credit card companies to deliberately cheat their customers.
Maybe they’re citizens! Does anyone remember when he showed up in the comments here? I keep thinking maybe it was a fever dream I had, because no one ever seems to bite when I mention it.
Adam L Silverman
@Это курам на смех: Sorry, this is what happens when you do a post while heading out the door. Fixed.
Adam L Silverman
@Millard Filmore: The President can ask for the raw intel. The Intel Community leadership will do whatever they can to dissuade the President in that request. From what I’ve seen reported, the real issue is that LTG Flynn is taking the PDB material and reworking it into a briefing for the President. So it is unclear, based on that reporting, if the President is really getting the PDB from the briefers sent by the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA or if he’s getting whatever LTG Flynn thinks he needs to know.
Here’s the link:
Adam L Silverman
@Millard Filmore: That is exactly what it is.
@Immanentize: Yeah, and my point was that a witty saying proves nothing.
@Mary G: I had to stare at that Tweet for a bit. Clearly Jake T got the “fight back or ELSE” memo, big time.
I’ll bite. I think I remember that too. Probably someone just using his name as a nym to make a joke.
@Adam L Silverman:
I hope our own spys take that as “there is a Bill Haydon in the White House with access to everything”.
@Millard Filmore: I thought the Israeli business was our people telling them to be careful what they told us after January 20 for fear of how far it might travel.
That’s not my recollection. It was a real discussion.
@dm: Right. Will our own spies take the same care? Will they refuse to send some information up the pipeline? As opposed to “now that we have it, we MUST pass it through our channels.”
Adam, I think this would be better in last night’s Maskirova thread, but I’ll put it here for visibility- had you seen this? I’d love your thoughts, perhaps in a separate thread. https://medium.com/@jakefuentes/the-immigration-ban-is-a-headfake-and-were-falling-for-it-b8910e78f0c5#.xre8fjnj9
@Adam L Silverman:
Calling it a ‘real issue’ is the understatement of the year, holy cow. No wonder the pressure is mounting to get Flynn out of there.
Adam L Silverman
@Bill: I don’t disagree that some of this is testing just how far things can be pushed. As for the rest, its interesting, but I’m not sure someone who identifies himself as “start ups and doing good in the war” is really an informed analyst.
@Adam L Silverman: Thank you for the reply. Your analysis these past months has made me a smarter and more informed person, and I am grateful. Be well.
Adam L Silverman
@Bill: I think what they’re really trying to do is ramp up the be afraid all the time everything is an existential threat stuff so that when something bad happens, and something bad will eventually happen, they can then use that to demagogue and try to grab as much power as possible.
@Adam L Silverman: I agree completely, and boy, if you wanted something bad to happen, this would be the way to make it so. Wish fulfillment, at great cost. But tremendous politically. Tremendous. Believe me.
Adam L Silverman
@Bill: In regard to my reply in comment 65, hence this:
That’s really, genuinely terrifying. I’m actually more afraid of Americans at this point. So this is what it feels like. If I am massacred, will I still be able to participate in polls? Are my rights being violated? Why is my cat looking at me like that?
@Adam L Silverman: Gee, where have I seen that scenario before … let me think ….
@evodevo: We call them the classics.
@Immanentize: not quite true. We are bound by treaty obligations. So an order to machine gun a bunch of non combatants is an illegal order and must be refused.
@Brachiator: nobody is above the law. By virtue of his office, Trump can in effect release anything, but that does not apply to his employees. As a practical matter, there is a heavy political price to be paid for releasing things like, say, the names of spies. Some information cannot be released by anyone except Trump without the assent of the originator. It would be interesting to know whether specifics of the sanctions were discussed with the Russians before they were public. Sometimes these sorts of things are classified until they are public. At that point you’d have prima face evidence of an espionage act violation…