For the last two weeks we’ve all been glued to the coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio. Maybe some of us weren’t watching but I was and for once I actually got to see the Equestrian events. I love to ride and watching these amazing athletes has always been a problem. It isn’t a really popular sport and this year there were some human athletes nearly as amazing. Can you tell I enjoyed the horses?
Now, however, the Olympics are over, so we return you to our regularly scheduled programs and, oh gag, the election is still hot and hideous. I won’t bore you with my “None of the Above” rant, I think many of us wish wholeheartedly for that option but I will share my experiences with classified government documents.
I held a Top Secret clearance back in the dark-ages (1980’ish) while I worked for the U.S. Air Force. It is not easy to get a clearance; they really do talk to your neighbors, teachers, friends and anyone else the FBI can locate. I needed to remember every address I’d ever lived at and provide three character references. Yes, that references part was a struggle, I had a wild youth (think hippie, sorry) so finding names of people whom I felt might give me a good character reference was a struggle. I’m not sure how I managed to get the Top Secret clearance, but I did and the regulations and requirements for having, maintaining and effectively carrying out the obligations of a Top Secret cleared person are long and extremely strict. For those of you who have never encountered the governments classifications process, let me tell you a Top Secret clearance is pennies compared to some of the alphabet clearances out there. I didn’t see anything all that dangerous when compared to the really scary stuff some of the higher up the food chain people dealt with.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, without naming any person in particular, I can tell you that something seriously bad has happened. While I was working on classified documents, I took the utmost care of where I was, where the documents were and how I made sure to secure my work and those documents. A lady working in an office just down from me made a small mistake with a piece (one piece) of classified information and all hell broke loose. She was fired, lost her clearance and was barred from all government work. Holy SHIT!! It was one piece of paper, locked in her desk drawer overnight and she was ruined, shamed and an outcast, it was heartbreaking to watch over one piece of paper.
Anyone who mishandles classified documents, and I do mean anyone!! should receive the same treatment as that poor woman in my building. If you mishandle in any way, classified or maybe it could be classified information you MUST lose your clearance. So, even if there was no “criminal” intent, there should be NO clearance! If someone still has their clearance after egregious mishandling of classified information…. Our government has been purchased, we no longer have America to count on and maybe the world really is well on it’s way to chaos. No, I don’t think I’m over reacting. If you can purchase a government clearance with enough money and knowing where the bodies are buried or maybe money and a new position that pays millions (the CEO of Fanny Mae makes over 35 million dollars a year, just sayin…) then “My Country ’tis of thee” is now “money will buy Everything” and folks we can’t afford to live in such a terrible place.