James Woolsey Should Lose Security Clearance

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woolsey hnn.jpg
Booz Allen Vice President R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence during the Clinton administration, still has his security clearance.
Woolsey’s advocacy of American Navy employee turned Israel spy Jonathan Pollard‘s release though raises questions about the propriety of his continuing to have access to the nation’s secrets — particularly those that cover activities in the Middle East.
Woolsey has been at the crossroads of conflicting intelligence loyalties in the past as well.
In 1998, James Woolsey served as the lawyer for a group of six detained Iraqi National Congress personnel detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Guam and then subsequently in California.
I don’t think that the INS has ever been given sufficient praise for having stopped these six Iraqi National Congress operatives — one of whom was Aras Karim, Chalabi’s intelligence chief who later defected to Iran. Woolsey had planned to read through the classified information that the U.S. was holding on these detainees and then to determine whether the U.S. position was legitimate or not. Woolsey alleged at the time that if the U.S. government did not allow him to do this, then the “government must be hiding something.”
Woolsey helped enable Chalabi, his intel chief, the Iraqi National Congress operation, and the war against Saddam by being the first on national television on September 11, 2001 to allege a connection between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Saddam Hussein. Woolsey failed to disclose on TV when making these comments that he was not only a pundit commentator on the attacks — but was also Ahmed Chalabi’s attorney.
I recently attended the annual dinner of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (where I was treated quite well and with great courtesy I should add) and saw Woolsey at the dinner at the Army-Navy Club. It was shortly before this dinner in early February that the CIA Director began changing his tune on Pollard.
Woolsey has a right to be a pundit, a commentator, a thinker, an organizer of forums and organizations committed to not only our current war against Iraq — but the many other wars for which he is agitating.
But it is wrong for someone of Woolsey’s background and abilities to simultaneously be raking in the dollars from private investments and business activities related to a war he is advocating while American men and women are dying on the front line.
It is also wrong for our former Director of Central Intelligence to be advocating the release of an individual who undermined our national interests and who gave America’s most closely held secrets to another government. Woolsey’s loyalties seem increasingly conflicted — just as they were when he was serving as a consigliere for Ahmed Chalabi & Co.
Woolsey’s security clearance should be suspended.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

10 comments on “James Woolsey Should Lose Security Clearance

  1. bakho says:

    The only worse Clinton appointment mistake was Louis Freeh.

    Reply

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks for your response, Steve. I appreciate your respect for my point of view and, as always, I greatly admire your judgment and experience in these areas. Rest assured that I am surely no fan of Woolsey.

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    Can I ask an off topic question?
    Does anyone know anything about the Unity08 group?
    It came in my mailbox from Mother Jones mag as an ad.
    http://www.unity08.com/about
    Evidently it was founded by former Gov Angus King of Maine,an independent or unaffilated politican.
    Their statement says they want to shake up both parties, encourage a bipartisan ticket and remove special interest money from determing who is elected president. They also say they have no candidates in mind at present and are going to hold an online voting at some point on various bipartisian tickets. Sounds like a stab in the right direction if they are on the up and up and don’t have any preselected candidates they are money raising for.

    Reply

  4. Carroll says:

    That doesn’t mean their clearances should be yanked as a political statement.
    That goes double in regards to Woolsey’s role as a lawyer for some of these bad guys. People are entitled to representation, and the government shouldn’t be chilling that right by threatening to punish anyone who takes the case of an accused spy or terrorist.
    This seems like a dangerous road to go down.
    Posted by Steve at March 20, 2007 11:36 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That is not the point.
    No one is saying he should be “punished” for representing those accused.
    The simple fact is..why should he have a security clearence any longer anyway?…
    And his past and present “conflicts of interest” is reason enough for anyone with a grain of common sense to take it away.
    He’s not “entitled” to a lifetime security clearence because of his former position.
    Take it away. Even better send Woolsey away. Put him in the cell next to Pollard. The US would thank you.

    Reply

  5. Carroll says:

    Yay! Hooray!, Bravo! Thanks Steve!
    It’s past time time to name names. I have long said the way to go after these kind of disgusting people is to seperate them from their herd cover and go after them individually, as seperate cases.

    Reply

  6. daCascadian says:

    Having his access to classified material taken away should be the least of this person`s problems. He is NOT a friend of “We the people…” by any objective rational guidelines.
    “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

    Reply

  7. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Steve — you take a sensible stand on this issue, and I think that there can be a slippery slope. I think that James Woolsey has not behaved responsibly in his position — not because he is defending suspected Iraqi or Iranian spies — but because he has shown a predisposition to manipulate his access to secrets on behalf of foreign interests with objectives that are not our own. I also think he has been a classic war-profiteer in our escapade in the Middle East — not in his Booz Allen role — but in the many other businesses in which he is involved which depend in part upon his own ability to penetrate the government and its cache of secrets.
    But on many levels, I agree with your note.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  8. Steve says:

    I think revoking someone’s security clearance for expressing an unpopular view is over the top. Maybe Woolsey’s statements about Pollard suggest to some that “he doesn’t take national security seriously enough” – but in today’s political climate, EVERYONE thinks it’s been conclusively proven that their political adversaries don’t take national security seriously enough. That doesn’t mean their clearances should be yanked as a political statement.
    That goes double in regards to Woolsey’s role as a lawyer for some of these bad guys. People are entitled to representation, and the government shouldn’t be chilling that right by threatening to punish anyone who takes the case of an accused spy or terrorist.
    This seems like a dangerous road to go down.

    Reply

  9. JHM says:

    No doubt you’re right about this, but I wonder if matters all that much. These guys ignore the intelligence that doesn’t suit their ideology and order up intelligence to that does.

    Reply

  10. yugo says:

    Don’t we owe it to our former security officials to see to it that they enjoy unlimited opportunity not only to make money but also to influence U.S. policy?
    I don’t know what Woolsey says in private, but in his public statements about Iraq and the Middle East, Woolsey has been wrong about everything. Without inside knowledge, what would he have to sell?

    Reply

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