Tags: leon panetta | white house | aides | security clearance | problem

Panetta: WH Aides' Lack of Security Clearance Is a 'Real Problem'

("CBS This Morning")

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Feb 2018 01:09 PM

Leon Panetta said Tuesday that the lack of security clearances for West Wing aides is a "real problem" that creates "risks" for the White House.

"It's unusual this far into a new administration — it's over a year this administration has been in office, and normally because of the priority of getting security clearances to those that have to be involved with top secret and highly classified information, it usually is a priority that's focused on," the former secretary of defense and CIA director said on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

"The fact there are still a number of individuals that don't have full security clearance is a real problem and hopefully it will be dealt with, but it creates a risk because individuals are going to see highly classified information coming across their desk," he added. "It creates a risk they could see that."

Former White House official Rob Porter worked in the West Wing for months with an interim security clearance as the FBI conducted a background check, which found allegations of domestic abuse.

"Somebody's dropping the ball, that's for sure," Panetta said. "These investigations should've been completed and [White House chief of staff] John Kelly is a marine general; he understands the importance of getting these clearances done. I can't believe that more pressure has not been brought on those involved to complete this and try to get everyone cleared so they can get on with the business of the country."

Panetta, who served as President Bill Clinton's chief of staff, said that the blame cannot be placed solely on Kelly.

"If you're looking for where to place blame, I think everybody bears some responsibility here, not just the chief of staff," he said. "It's others who should be asking where is my security clearance and shouldn't it be completed rather than standing back and allowing this interim security clearance to take effect. That just is a bad way to do business."

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Leon Panetta said Tuesday that the lack of security clearances for West Wing aides is a "real problem" that creates "risks" for the White House.
leon panetta, white house, aides, security clearance, problem
Tuesday, 13 Feb 2018 01:09 PM
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