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Could Trump even get security clearance?

Guest Column
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

“At long last, have you no sense of decency, sir?”

The above query was presented to Joseph Nye Welch, chief counsel for the United States Army 9 June 1954 to Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings. This utterance reverberates profoundly unrelentingly in my mind when I think of our present Commander-in-Chief Donald John Trump. 

President Trump has stated many things that simply, putting it mildly, “have ruined my day” that I have simply catalogued but keep going:  characterizing Senator John McCain as a “loser;” African Countries as “sh—holes” ( I have spent time in Ghana, Togo, South Africa and Djibouti); “grabbin’ the couchie;” characterizing women as beautiful/ugly/dogs in a public forum according to his standards irrespective of their accomplishments, intellect, perseverance, character and overcoming adversity; and his unabashed odious crassness and vulgarity on a worldwide stage.

In the Godfather 1972 movie, the character “Fredo” the Godfather’s brother played by John Cazale admonishes “Michael” the Godfather Al Pacino for disrespecting “Mo Greene” Las Vegas racketeer played by Alex Rocco. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” for me is this president’s attempt to remove security clearances from intelligence operatives “ … because they politicize and in some cases monetize their public service and security clearances.”  One does not vilify John Owen Brennan, William Harry McRaven, Michael Joseph Morell and Michael Vincent Hayden.

Donald John Trump has no conception WHATSOVER in what is involved in gaining a security clearance; maintaining a security clearance; the information and operations that one will be involved in; the toll and sacrifices of  the men and women, their families, their significant others involved in the intelligence infrastructure – to say nothing of the assets in foreign countries who risk their lives and worse, torture, ONLY because they believe in the United States of America’s ideals, values, possibilities that a better life just might be possible for their progeny and their country as a whole. This was demonstrated when Vietnamese American Commander Hung Ba Le sailed the USS Lassen back to Ho Chi Minh City. When Saigon fell to the communists in 1975, his family fled in a fishing trawler. They were rescued at sea and brought to America. He was five years old. Was not this again demonstrated when a city community organizer with big ears; a mixed race child; and, itinerant childhood became the leader of the free world? Does Donald John Trump know of the Central Intelligence’s Memorial Wall? Has Donald John Trump ever heard of Colonel Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky?

Upon resigning from Military Sealift Command as a LCDR Medical Services Officer, I surrendered my Diplomatic Passport and Civilian Access Card. To be a part of this organization and as contractor personnel on “special mission ships,”  I secured a regular passport and passport card; Global Entry Card; Merchant Mariner Credential which includes — Chief Purser, Professional Nurse, Ordinary Seaman, Wiper, Steward’s Department (F.H.), Medical First-Aid Provider, Person in Charge of Medical Care, Basic Training; and, a Transportation Worker Identification Credential. These credentials were above my regular civilian credentials id est driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate. Oops – I did not include  medical examinations; vaccinations; HAZMART Training; Fire Fighting, et cetera.

Now that I think about it, because of his litigious history, I doubt Donald John Trump could secure any type of clearance.

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James Bryant Jr. is a resident of San Marcos