By Colonel Mike Angley
Clearance? We Don’t Need No Stinking Clearance!
If you blinked, you may have missed it. On Sep 21, 2018, the State Department sent a memo to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee informing him. “At her request, former Secretary Clinton’s security clearance was administratively withdrawn on August 30, 2018. On September 20, 2018, security clearances were withdrawn for Cheryl Mills and (four other whose names were redacted).”
At HER request? Um, no. Not buying it.
Her clearances were revoked against her will and likely with a foot-stomping temper tantrum in the process. The ‘at her request’ language is political face-saving mush-mash, a gratuitous gift to an undeserving woman whose clearances should have been revoked a year or more ago (around the time her indictment should have dropped, but I digress).
By the way, not to be lost is the fact that this memo dropped on a Friday, the day of the week officially set aside in Washington, DC for informing the media of embarrassing stories so they get scant coverage and are forgotten by Monday morning.
Also, on September 21st, America was entranced with the Brett Kavanaugh hearings before the same Judiciary Committee this memo went to. What better way to ensure it gets buried than to send it to the busiest man in the United States Senate?
My History with Security Clearances
I held a security clearance for over 30 years: 26 years on active duty and 5 years in retirement when I worked for a contractor. Although my basic clearance was at the Top Secret level, I was read in and out of various programs with each assignment. In many cases I had access to some incredibly sensitive programs, but that access expired once I left the job where I needed them.
The simple point is this: job drives need-to-know, and need-to-know determines clearance level. When I left an assignment, my clearances were stripped accordingly, automatically, and involuntarily. I never had the ‘county option’ to surrender my clearances, to ‘voluntarily’ give them up.
No one approaches Uncle Sam and asks, “Hey, I’m done with this security clearance, where’s the return desk?” But that’s what the State Department memo suggests Hillary did.
Make no mistake, her clearance was yanked from her claws. And she hated losing it.
A security clearance, especially at the Top Secret level, is hard to obtain and when one transitions between jobs, it carries tangible value. When I retired from the military, the fact that I held one and had prior access to deep levels of compartmented information and black programs meant a contractor could hire me and put me right to work. If the contractor were to hire someone without a clearance, the contractor would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the government for the background investigation and wait months to over a year for the new hire to be cleared.
People moving between government jobs usually put their clearance level right at the top of a résumé for this reason. Human resource departments often specify what clearance they want someone to possess when applying for a job.
In short, it’s a club of sorts and people trade in the possession of clearances and access to advance to new positions.
But it’s also much more than that. Especially with respect to Hillary Clinton.
She’s not done with politics and there have been recent rumors she plans to run for President in 2020 (hey, I’d rather see her in leg irons, but if she’s the Democrat nominee next cycle I may find an equal amount of temporary satisfaction in that).
A security clearance gets her a seat at a table that she no longer has, an important seat for a candidate. The insight and knowledge (translation: power) she would get in a political campaign having classified access is hard to quantify.
The last thing a woman with her raw political ambition would do is diminish any advantage she’d have going forward in her political career. Giving up a clearance was a huge loss.
I can only imagine when the State Department’s security personnel showed up in Chappaquiddick to deliver the debrief paperwork she screamed louder than the day she learned Monica held onto that blue dress.
Another Shoe About to Drop?
While the process by which Hillary’s clearance was revoked is interesting – and a bit amusing – there’s something else that caught my eye. In the State Department memo to Senator Grassley, it claims that clearances were withdrawn for Cheryl Mills and four others whose names were blackened out.
Mills was a key player in Hillary’s alleged email scandal and was recently blasted for alleged perjury by a federal judge in the context of the email scandal. That she, Hillary, and four others lost clearances within a month of each other is neither coincidental nor is it inconsequential.
My sense is something is afoot. Revoking clearances may be a simple administrative step in a much bigger process. Are we ramping up for a serious revelation? Could Jeff Sessions be about to announce indictments?
Yes, much of my analysis is driven by my own optimism and bias, but how far off am I? President Donald Trump is a master at playing the media for the fools they are. Is he about to roll out his own October surprise by delivering on his promise to ‘lock her up’ just before the November midterms?
I don’t know, but I’ve recently bought a large bag of popcorn. I’ll be ready to sit back and grin as I watch the fireworks ignite should anything even close to that happen.
Colonel Michael (“Mike”) Angley is retired from the United States Air Force, a published thriller author, and a conservative writer who fashions himself as Attila the Hun with a laptop. Mike wrote for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Peace blogs before the Breitbart consolidation, receiving superb feedback and kudos for typically weaving in pop culture references with his far right perspectives. He enjoys writing about military affairs, national security issues, and politics and is an avid Second Amendment advocate. When he’s not writing, he’s busy annoying liberals with FaceBook posts and Twitter tweets that point out the obvious flaws and fallacies of the left.
During his 26-year USAF career, the Colonel was a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The OSI is a sister agency to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and has an identical mission that includes felony-level criminal, fraud, and narcotics investigations as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. His USAF experiences spanned multiple regions around the globe with five command assignments and duties at foreign, regional, theater and national levels.
He is a seasoned counterintelligence and counterespionage officer from the Cold War era, and if you ask him he’ll tell you the spy-vs-spy days were indeed the heady, glory era of espionage. During the latter half of his career he focused on counterterrorism missions in the Middle East and the Far East and operationalized many of today’s concepts for this unique arena while working the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a few other “choice” locations. When Colonel Angley retired in 2007, he was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and was in command of all worldwide OSI matters at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO.
Mike Angley is also a published, award-winning author of three thriller novels in the “Child Finder” trilogy. His debut novel, “Child Finder,” received a glowing review from the Library Journal which placed it on its Summer Reading list in 2009. “Child Finder” and its companion sequel novels all won various awards from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and the Public Safety Writers Association. In 2012, Mike was named MWSA’s “Author of the Year,” largely for work on his third novel, “Child Finder: Revelation.”
As an avid user of social media, Mike can be found and friended on Facebook (mike.angley) and followed on Twitter (@MikeAngley). His website is www.mikeangley.com. Following his USAF retirement, Mike and his family stayed in Colorado Springs, CO where they enjoy daily, majestic views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains.