Will George Santos’ Lies Cost Him Access to Classified Info?

representative-elect George Santos (R-NY) has been unmasked as providing so much falsehood, it’s hard to tell where fiction ends and where real people begin. Perhaps he has also inadvertently brought the Republic back to a security concern that it was unable to address before.

In 2009, then-Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) is alleged to have acted in a way that raised concerns about foreign influence from Israel. During congressional oversight hearings in 2017 on alleged Russian efforts to influence elections in the US, then Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)—who is also the chair of the House of Commons Standing Select Committee on Intelligence—was charged, and addressed, of security concerns related to the handling of information secret.

And in 2021, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Senator. Josh Hawley (R-MO) acted in a way that led to accusations of their allegiance to the United States following the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

The parameters set by Congress regarding who is eligible to access classified information are a standard for the Republic; Americans look at congressional access and see it’s allowed to comply with security regulations, or they’ll see it’s allowed to leak.

But while congressional staffers go through a process of trial and investigation—unlike members, employees, and contractors of the executive branch—members of Congress do not. We don’t have King Charles III in America; Here the people are sovereign. Under the constitutional doctrine that the people are sovereign and that Congress—under Article I of the federal Constitution—act on their behalf and on behalf of the sovereignty of the United States, an individual member of Congress is eligible to Access to classified information is simply by election by a sovereign body, their congressional district, or their state.

New York’s 3rd congressional district voters made Congressional-elect Santos eligible access to classified information, but that’s not the end.

The national security community must now decide what to do with a person who demonstrates a security concern under Directive E, Personal Conduct; Guideline F, Financial Considerations; Guideline I, Psychological conditions; and Directive J, Criminal Conduct of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Adjudication Guidelines (SEAD-4).

While the DNI does not control congressional eligibility or access, the office’s guidelines are used throughout the federal government and they indicate whether the 17 agencies under the office’s control whether to notify a specific person of confidential information. So that role is just sharing classified information with Congress, not one that grants access to Santos. The new Speaker of the House will ultimately decide on Santos’ access, in large part, through a committee assignment.

Security concerns could be averted by appointing him to a committee as far away from classified information as possible. But what if Santos was the recipient of classified information from intelligence community employees? Should intelligence community executives seek to step up against the new Republican House of Representatives or support minority leadership in the House in the presence of security concerns? Mid-level or lower-level intelligence officers could run away, passing classified information to a congressman like Santos, whom voters consider trustworthy, if not the national security community. The intelligence community source would be a leaker; but congressmen will not break the law.

This created poor discipline in security and defense circles, eroding the confidence needed to defend the Republic against the “Enemies of the State” (that’s not an exaggeration, it’s a security term). technical security). And the Enemies of that State—be it Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, or any number of international bad actors—look for weak points caused by disordered relations between the legislature and the government. created by law enforcement. The separation of powers is by design; war of the great powers is not.

The House Ethics Committee must now wade into this swamp. After Santos is sworn in next week as a member of the 118th Congress, he will fall under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee. At that point, the Ethics Committee should review his actions during the campaign.

Given that House X Rule, Section 11 sets forth the process for all House committees to receive and view classified information in closed session, virtually any member of the committee serving on a committee has ability to view classified information. But, again, while voters consider Santos trustworthy enough, actual access through Congressional mechanisms is through the Speaker—and his or her control over the House of Representatives. committees.

More importantly, if Santos’ false statements are the product of a medical condition, a disease, then he should be evaluated according to Guideline I, Psychological Status. Enemies of the State look for unwitting fools (another technical security term). If a mental health condition leads to permanent lying, Santos’ access may be restricted to less classified information. He can minimize such a diagnosis with a treatment plan, evidence of treatment, and a health bill of the reviewer indicating he has a favorable prognosis.

But to proceed without a security assessment risks fueling a second wave of civil strife between and within branches of government. The Secret Service and the FBI have suffered heavy losses during this period of constitutional conflict. The intelligence community had only just recently lowered the drawbridge and raised the arches of its scattered castles. Returning to a fiercely divided government would jeopardize more agencies and see the drawbridge raised and the grating lower once more.


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