Jeff Fa Fa Profile picture
Aug 15, 2018 26 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Okay, here's my thread on Brennan having his security clearance stripped, offered because I'm seeing a lot of Twitter experts expressing profoundly ignorant opinions about national security issues.
First, though, a disclaimer: I haven't held a security clearance in years, and my own clearance was strictly low-level. I'm not passing myself off as an expert here, but I am at least informed.
First, "He doesn't need a clearance," or, "He hasn't held a government job in years." Here's why that argument is so off. The clearance follows the person, not the job.
Having a clearance means that you've passed a background check and that this check revealed no disqualifying security threats. Different levels of access require that these background checks be renewed at different intervals.
This means that if I pass a background check, complete a series of interviews, and am cleared to receive, say, top secret access for a 4-year-period, and I leave my job after 2 years, my clearance is still good for another 2 years. This is important for a couple of reasons.
First, it means that I can pursue other job opportunities which might require a clearance. Second, it means that an agency thinking about hiring me doesn't have to go to the expense of doing a new background check from scratch. But there's a third, more important reason.
Continuing to hold a security clearance means that, if needed, I can still be briefed into situations that I worked on when I held my previous post. It means that I can still offer expertise or guidance to whoever fills the post that I vacated.
For a senior-level officer like Brennan, this is HUGE. It means that Brennan can offer his assessments and experience to current administration officials, and provide context about decisions and assessments made before they took office.
In short, Brennan retained his security clearance so that he could be an asset to the people who are doing his old job TODAY. It's about providing resources to the people charged with keeping us safe NOW, not some sort of perk that Brennan gets to hold on to for personal benefit
I want to drive that point home, because it's important: stripping Brennan's of his security clearance makes us less safe. We're literally less sucure as a nation now that the current head of the CIA is unable to freely confer with a predecessor.
Next point. "It's a security threat for all of these former officials to be walking around with security clearance," another false assumption apparently held by some with no experience with clearances.
Having a security clearance doesn't entitle somebody to classified information. It isn't like a library card that you can use to check out materials which interest you. People with clearances are still only briefed on information that they need to know.
This means that if you have a top secret clearance and work in a job where you need access to specific pieces of top secret information, it can be shared with you...
...but It also means that if you have a top secret clearance but work in a job where you DON'T need access to specific pieces of top secret information, it WON'T be shared with you.
Former employees who are consulting with a government agency or whatever are subject to the same scrutiny: they aren't provided with classified information that they don't need to know.
And this means that there's absolutely no security risk to former government employees holding a security clearance. NONE. Zero. Zilch.
And if somebody is divulging classified information to a current or former government employee which that employee isn't cleared for and doesn't need to know, THAT PERSON is the security risk-- not the current or former employee who is receiving it.
So, to summarize these two points, Brennan's security clearance posed no security threat and was based on his personal background check results, not dependent upon his status as a current or former CIA Director.
So, even accepting those two points, why does it matter that Brennan's security clearance was revoked? Unlike the facts I've been presenting so far in this thread, this question is a matter of perspective, personal values, and opinion.
From one perspective, the revocation probably doesn't matter a lot. Brennan himself said that he hadn't received a classified briefing in months. The administration revoked something which wasn't being used. If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?
From another perspective, though, this is extremely troubling. Our government is taking action to retaliate against a private citizen for exercising 1st Amendment rights to free speech.
That's a Constitutional problem. The fact that our President is using the mechanisms of government to settle personal scores may be a Constitutional problem, too.
I'm no lawyer, but I've read the articles of impeachment which were drafted against Richard Nixon, and the sort of pettiness that President Trump is displaying by revoking Brennan's security clearance would fit right in with the abuses of power that Nixon was charged with.
That's my final take: we certainly have Constitutional issues with actions taken by this president today, and those issues might lead to legal problems for this president down the road, which is a much bigger deal than whether a former CIA Director can get security briefings.
I think that's really the issue here: the rule of law, and our system of checks and balances. Keep your eyes on the prize!
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More from @1stLevelHuman

Jul 14, 2018
I turned fifty in October, and I'm just starting to realize all of the ways that being an abused child has molded and shaped me over the years. This thread will be a work in progress, that I can add to over an extended period.
I remember having happy childhood moments, mostly reading and playing with other kids; during the abuse itself, I experienced sheer terror. The rest of my childhood was a vague sense of dread-- waiting for more physical abuse.
When parents punish their children for misbehaving, the kids learn not to do whatever it was that got them into trouble. Since the physical abuse that I endured always seemed to erupt out of nowhere, it broke down "the rules." I grew indifferent to being punished.
Read 44 tweets
Jun 13, 2018
@dubephnx @tinacha2 @krysmady @Michell55580529 @Juliarmstrong4 @renato_mariotti @Comey @FoxNews I once held a security clearance and handled classified material. Let me tell you, our classification system is a mess...
@dubephnx @tinacha2 @krysmady @Michell55580529 @Juliarmstrong4 @renato_mariotti @Comey @FoxNews First of all, the department or branch which originates material determines how it will be classified. Sometimes different agencies classify it differently. Thus a piece of info could theoretically be secret per the Pentagon, top secret per State, and confidential per DoJ.
@dubephnx @tinacha2 @krysmady @Michell55580529 @Juliarmstrong4 @renato_mariotti @Comey @FoxNews In the hypothetical just stated, if you worked in DoJ you could share freely with those who had a legitimate need, could share a Navy document about that info with most people with clearances, but would be extremely careful about who saw a State memo about the exact same info.
Read 12 tweets

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