Bush Sells Out National Security to Religious Fundamentalist
by gunnar, Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 07:01:52 PM EST
As the American people learned in the UAE ports deal, George W. Bush is more interested in making his personal friends happy than he is in the security of the American people. Similar to the ports deal, Bush has now decided to sacrifice national security to appease the religious fundamentalist that form the base of his party.
In the 1990s, Bill Clinton strengthened our nation's security by making it clear that a person's sexual orientation could "not be used as a basis for or a disqualifying factor in determining a person's eligibility for a security clearance." Not only was this the right thing to do because our government should not discriminate against gays in the workplace, but it was good for our country's security as well.
The current guidelines state that the decision to grant access to a person should "take into account factors that cause a conflict of interest and place a person in the position of having to choose between his or her commitments to the United States . . . and any other compelling loyalty." If a person is forced to hide his or her sexual orientation in order to gain security clearance, a third party that discovers his or her sexual orientation could threaten to disclose that person's sexual orientation to coerce him or her into disclosing government secrets. By completely eliminating sexual orientation as a basis to deny security clearance, Bill Clinton eliminated the security risks associated with a person attempting to hide his or her sexual orientation.
Bush has now weakened Clinton's policy and thereby placing our national security at risk. Last year, Bush changed the rules that federal agencies use to determine whether to grant a person security clearance. Under Bush's new rule, security clearances cannot be denied "solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual."
Although these may appear to be cosmetic changes, Bush has lawyers writing these rules and every word counts. By using the word "solely," the rule implies orientation in and of itself may not be used as a basis to deny security clearance, but any other related factor, including acting on that orientation, could be a basis to deny clearance. So, if you are a man, it's acceptable to like other men, but making love to another man could be used as a basis to deny security clearance. Thus, under the Bush rule, to be safe, gays are forced back into the closet in order to ensure that they are not discriminated against in the workplace.
But this is the very thing that will undermine our national security. If a gay person hides his or her sexual orientation in attempting to gain security clearance and this is found out later, the failure to be forthright in the security application can be used to discontinue access to classified information. Thus, a third party that discovers such a person's true sexual identity, will have leverage over this person to attempt to coerce him or her to disclose classified information.
Once again, the radical religious fundamentalist in control of our government are attempting to enforce their fundamentalist world view on the rest of us. There is no other rational explanation for changing the rules. Although the National Security Administration claims that the rules were rewritten for clarity, the Clinton rule--sexual orientation "may not be used as a basis for or a disqualifying factor in determining a person's eligibility for a security clearance--" was already clear.
Just like the ports deal, Bush once again places his personal friends and allies in front of our nation's security. Just like when he let Osama bin Laden's family leave the country immediately after 9/11 without asking them just where Osama may be, he put his personal friendships in front of our collective security. Just like when he hired a crony with no qualifications to head up FEMA, he placed his political friendships in front of our national security. George W. Bush puts our national security second every time.