Editorial: They Shouldn’t Be Getting Away with High Crimes

In today’s editorial I discuss my navy background as a security manager onboard a submarine and the crimes committed by Biden, Trump, Hillary, and Pence. 

The is the unabridged version. You can find the abridged version at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

In the mid-1980’s I served as Command Security Manager aboard the ballistic missile nuclear submarine USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634). My job was to ensure the safe handling and security of the significant amount of classified information onboard.

SF 712I was also the Top Secret Control Officer (TSCO), responsible for controlling all Top Secret (TS) material. Top Secret material is “information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” TS material can be further classified as Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). TS/SCI is the crown jewels of the intel world because it includes the methods and sources of the material.

The TSCO maintains a registry for recording receipt, transfer, transmission, and destruction of all TS media, and he does not have the authority himself to reproduce any TS document.

All TSCO’s undergo a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI): a comprehensive, deep background investigation by the government, in my case the Defense Security Service (DSS).

The SSBI includes a National Agency check (by the CIA, FBI, etc.) followed by verification of the subject’s date and place of birth, citizenship, education and employment, neighborhood interviews, developed character reference interviews, credit checks, local agency checks, public record checks (i.e., verification of divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), foreign travel, foreign connections, and organizational affiliations, with other inquiries, as appropriate.

I had studied in Munich during my junior year of college and had traveled behind the Iron Curtain throughout East Germany including East Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden, and to Prague, Czechoslovakia. The DSS was especially thorough in probing my travels to those communist countries. Admiral Rickover even asked me about it during my personal interview with him as a prospective submarine nuclear engineer.

I tell you this because DoD takes safeguarding classified information seriously.

Screenshot 2023 02 01 at 06 15 55All TS material is required to be inventoried at least annually. On my submarine, we did it quarterly. Taking inventory involved physically accounting for each transfer/receipt signature, as the continuous chain of hand-to-hand transfers required a careful record of everyone to whom the TS information was disclosed.

There are similar requirements in every branch of government for safely controlling TS documents. When a member of congress is provided access to a TS document, the courier comes into the office with a locked briefcase, shuts the door, unlocks the briefcase, watches the congressman as he reads it, and records his having read it. The courier then locks it back into the briefcase before leaving and returning it to its locked safe.

I say all of this to show how properly handled TS information does not simply go missing and wind up in President Biden’s private residence in Delaware or the Penn Biden Center, at President Trump’s Mara Largo home, or in Vice President Pence’s home – not without senior security personnel in the Executive or Legislative branches actively concealing the chain of custody of TS documents, which is treasonous.

President Biden’s security woes are substantial. Six days before the midterm election, Biden’s personal attorneys found TS/SCI documents from the Obama Administration at the Penn Biden Center. Those offices didn’t even open until 2018. Where were those TS/SCI documents between January 2017 and February 2018? Who had access to them? Why were they not reported lost in an annual inventory? Why did the Biden Administration sit on this news for two months? That last sentence is obviously rhetorical.

Additional classified documents were found in the garage of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, sitting next to his Corvette. Some documents are pre-2008 when Biden was still a Senator. This is the same house that Hunter Biden was renting from his dad for $50,000 per month. Who had access to the house and to those documents during this time? After the TS/SCI was discovered in the Penn Biden Center, why did Biden send his personal attorneys with no security clearances to search for more classified documents?

The Biden administration pleads innocent because these classified documents were “inadvertently misplaced.” Hillary made the same excuse during her email server scandal. However, all security manuals state that if classified information is “knowingly, willfully, or negligently” compromised or disclosed, it’s a crime. Carelessness is never a defense.

President Trump’s case is complicated. Yes, as President, he did have the authority to declassify anything, reckless as that may be. I’m guessing all presidents keep certain documents to cover their backs.

However, Citizen Trump cannot just walk off with TS information still marked and controlled as TS. If Trump declassified the documents as he says he did, they would no longer be marked classified and there would be documentation by a TSCO somewhere saying that he did so. Where is the TSCO’s signature proving those documents were declassified? Where was the annual audit of those documents?

We’ve had military members incarcerated in Leavenworth not for spying, but for negligently mishandling classified info. If Biden, Hillary, Trump, and Pence were not in the ruling political class, they would be jailed. Illegal handling of classified documents that could “cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security” has, like so much else, been redefined to make room for those in power to commit high-crimes and get away with it.

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