Patterico's Pontifications

8/15/2018

President Trump Revokes Former CIA Director’s Security Clearance

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Last month Paul Ryan brushed off the suggestion that President Trump was considering the revocation of security clearances for certain former intelligence officials, saying that that the president was just trolling people. Apparently the president wasn’t just trolling because today the White House announced it had revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance:

As the head of the executive branch and Commander in Chief, I have a unique, Constitutional responsibility to protect the Nation’s classified information, including by controlling access to it. Today, in fulfilling that responsibility, I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their Government service so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy. Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.

First, at this point in my Administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior. Second, that conduct and behavior has tested and far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due to him. Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility. In 2014, for example, he denied to Congress that CIA officials under his supervision had improperly accessed the computer files of congressional staffers.

Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations – wild outbursts on the internet and television – about this Administration. Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos. More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our Nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in Government has ended.

The White House reportedly did not consult Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, about the decision.

Other former high-ranking intelligence officials are also reportedly being considered to have security clearances revoked as well, including:

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
James Comey, former FBI director
Michael Hayden, former CIA director
Sally Yates, former Acting Attorney General
Susan Rice, former National Security Adviser
Andrew McCabe, former deputy FBI director
Peter Strzok, former FBI agent
Lisa Page, former FBI lawyer
Bruce Ohr, former Associate Deputy Attorney General
(Note: some of these individuals don’t even a security clearance to revoke, or have already had it revoked…)

Sarah Sanders questioned the need for continuing security clearances for those no longer in government service:

“More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended,” Sanders said. “Such access is particularly inappropriate when former officials have transitioned into highly partisan positions and seek to use real or perceived access to sensitive information to validate their political attacks.”

Allahpundit enlightens:

Just because someone retains their clearance to receive classified info doesn’t mean they retain their access to it. You can’t demand to see state secrets just because you’re cleared to see them. The administration has to make them available to you. And it hopefully goes without saying that having a clearance doesn’t shield you from prosecution if you’re caught sharing classified info with unauthorized recipients. In other words, if you were worried about Brennan leaking, today’s move doesn’t do much to reduce that risk. In all likelihood he had no access to any recent intel in the first place. And if people inside the administration were sharing it with him because they hate Trump, odds are they’re going to go on sharing it even after today’s action (although they can be jailed for doing so now).

Brennan, unsurprisingly, pushed back on the decision:

This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.

For examples of Brennan’s “speaking out” against Trump, you can scroll through his Twitter feed. Boy, there are plenty of examples.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

More Than 300 Catholic Priests Sexually Abused More Than 1,000 Children, Grand Jury Finds “Playbook For Concealing The Truth”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:32 am



[guest post by Dana]

After a nearly-two year investigation by the Pennsylvania state attorney general, the horrific findings were released in a grand jury report released yesterday. The report includes documentation of sexual abuse at all levels, a widespread common practice to cover up the crimes against children in order to protect the guilty, and an utter and complete lack of even the most basic concern about young victims who suffered at the hands of those entrusted to guide and lead the flock. I mean, why would there be, given that the report notes there was a collective “disdain” shown for the victims. It is unspeakable in its evil:

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.

“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.”

The report goes on to state that “the sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church for more than 15 years, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002, [but] even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks,” including the Vatican, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro. No wonder Pope Francis is ignoring it :

On Wednesday morning, Pope Francis stood in the window of the apostolic palace looking over St. Peter’s square and blessed the crowds that had gathered for the Catholic celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. He talked about saints and heaven and sent his prayers to the victims of the bridge collapse in the northern Italian city of Genoa the day before.

But the pope didn’t mention the latest horrific news revealed about his church… “We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this,” the report began. But there was no sign Wednesday that Pope Francis was listening. He offered no prayer for the victims of his own churchmen who have been suffocated under a veil of complicity and shame for decades.

However, statements from officials at the various Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the report can be read here. It’s laughable to read the noble claims that safeguarding children is a priority of the church when one considers:

The grand jury said that while some accused priests were removed from ministry, the church officials who protected them remained in office or even got promotions. One bishop named in the report as vouching for an abusive priest was Cardinal Donald Wuerl, now the archbishop of Washington. “Until that changes, we think it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal,” the jury wrote.

Church officials followed a “playbook for concealing the truth,” the grand jury said, minimizing the abuse by using words like “inappropriate contact” instead of “rape”; assigning priests untrained in sexual abuse cases to investigate their colleagues; and not informing the community of the real reasons behind removing an accused priest.

“Tell his parishioners that he is on ‘sick leave,’ or suffering from ‘nervous exhaustion.’ Or say nothing at all,” the report said.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose office initiated the investigation, said in a news conference, “They protected their institution at all costs. As the grand jury found, the church showed a complete disdain for victims.”

Just one example demonstrating the vile, misplaced priorities of cchurch leadership and the absolute divorce from any moral and ethical behavior:

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Here is the portion of the report that is being referenced.

Also included in the report are these grand jury recommendations:

Eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children. (Current law permits victims to come forward until age 50.)

Creating a “civil window” so older victims may now sue for damages. (Current law gives child sex abuse victims 12 years to sue, once they turn 18. Victims in their 30s and older fall under a different law; they are only permitted two years.) The grand jury recommends a limited “window” offering victims a chance to be heard in court for an additional two years.

Changing the abuse reporting law to clarify the duty to report abuse, requiring people to report abuse “while the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe the abuser is likely to commit additional acts of child abuse.”

Creating a new statue which states that no past or present nondisclosure agreement can prevent a victim from talking to police. (The grand jury accused the Church of using confidentially agreements to silence abuse victims from speaking publicly or to law enforcement.)

In reading the report, I can tell you it is disgusting, vile, and grim. And utterly heartbreaking. It continues to boggle the mind that such evil is not only allowed to continue and flourish, but that the very system of the institution itself enables it to do so. So many sick individuals finding a ripe setting in which to carry out their evil deeds, and fully aided and abetted by those who are allegedly meant to hold them accountable. It’s unbelievable, one would think, but as an 80-year member of the Catholic Church told me back during the Boston scandal: I don’t believe it happened. I just don’t believe it.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Michael Avenatti, Our 46th President

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am



Allahpundit says our next president has announced his policy positions. But the most important one of all: he fights!

He’s got terrible judgment, he’s a media whore, and his ethics and honesty seem unlikely to withstand scrutiny. But he gets a ton of media attention and HE FIGHTS.

Naw, a guy like that could never go anywhere.

You think Republicans are the only ones who would sacrifice every principle in their sacred book to choose an over-hyped dunderhead who cons them into thinking he’s a Winner?

Go with that, then.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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