Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rob Porter background check: FBI timeline at odds with White House

Rob Porter background check: FBI timeline at odds with White House

Christopher Wray shot down the White House fib that the Rob Porter investigation was ongoing as of this month. The background report was completed in July. After a WH request for a follow-up was submitted, the FBI file was completely closed as of last month.

Note that Wray did not come forward to volunteer this info. He was compelled to testify under oath in the Senate.

Let's get real for a minute. The Democrats are going to make a big stink because Porter continued to have access to top secret documents when he had no clearance, but:

(1) He had had the same access for the previous 12 months with interim clearance. It didn't suddenly become more risky because his interim clearance expired.

(2) Let's get real. The fact that he's a domestic abuser (allegedly) does not imply that it was somehow dangerous to give him top secret info. Perhaps he is a bad human being, but that does not mean that he is unpatriotic or has loose lips. The domestic abuse revelations required Kelly to make a decision to fire him, but Kelly should have made the same decision whether or not Porter had passed his security checks.

In other words, the security clearance issue is a red herring.

BUT ...

It seems that Kelly had been fully aware that Porter would not be cleared since July, and he neither took steps to replace the guy nor took steps to ask Trump for an executive order to extend the man's interim clearance indefinitely (which the president has the right to do). Why? Probably PR. If Trump were to override the FBI's denial of full clearance in order to give a man permanent interim clearance, it would create a political football for the Dems to carry, and it appears to me that Kelly wanted to avoid that untenable PR situation, so he just buried his head in the sand. He doesn't seem to have shown a lot of backbone for a guy who's supposed to be tough-as-nails and by-the-book.


  1. Disagree, Scoop. A person with a record of indescretions is immediately a risk. They are vulnerable to blackmail or other forms of coercion. Military intelligence won’t touch anyone with a past that can be exploited.

  2. I was going to say what Steve did. Porter was vulnerable to the threat that exposing his abuse would cost him his job and create yet another scandal for the Trunp Administration.