Monday, 25 November 2013

How Britain became ashamed of being Great

How Britain became ashamed of being Great: Major new book argues liberal self-loathing threatens the values that define our nation

By Daniel Hannan

PUBLISHED: 01:39 GMT, 25 November 2013 | UPDATED: 01:40 GMT, 25 November 2013

We, the English-speaking peoples, invented freedom. We gave the world the glorious concept that the law was something bigger than the wishes of the king or the strongest man in the tribe. We taught other nations that the state could be the servant of the citizen, rather than the other way around.

So why do we now shy away from the uniqueness of our achievement? It's extraordinary that we don't want to pass on to our children the fact that they are heirs to a sublime tradition.

Personal liberty, the rule of law, representative government: these things are not, as we sometimes like to think, the natural condition of an advanced society.

Proud History: Kenneth Branagh as Henry V in the film adaptation of the patriotic Shakespeare play

Proud History: Kenneth Branagh as Henry V in the film adaptation of the patriotic Shakespeare play

Jury trials, parliamentary elections, habeas corpus, secure property, legal equality for women: the temptation is to think that all countries will adopt these things when they become rich enough and educated enough.

In fact, these concepts were largely developed in the English language. We call them 'Western' to be polite and modest. What we really mean is that they were the values of the Anglo-American system of government.

They became 'Western' because of a series of military victories by the English-speaking peoples - what we might call the Anglosphere.

 

But there comes a point when modesty tips over into self-loathing. Then, we focus obsessively on the bad things we're supposed to have done, notably our exploitation of colonies, without seeing the bigger picture: how we brought those colonies to independence, in most cases, without a shot being fired in anger; our relentless and selfless campaign against the slave trade; our war against the Nazi tyranny.

Who has done more to spread freedom across the continents? You'd think that Leftists would be proud of this heritage.

In what other civilisation were civil rights so strong? In Africa? Tsarist Russia? Maoist China?

Rule of law: The English were responsible for the Magna Carta, pictured. The document limits the power of kings, and was signed in 1215

Rule of law: The English were responsible for the Magna Carta, pictured. The document limits the power of kings, and was signed in 1215

Like every country, we have had our shameful moments, of course. But when the balance is weighed, few places have contributed so much to the happiness of mankind. The story of freedom is a long one.

It stretches back through the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (when an authoritarian king was toppled in favour of parliamentary democracy) to the Magna Carta (the landmark 1215 document limiting his royal powers).

Right from the days of Anglo-Saxon England, we find peculiar legal and political structures that set this country apart.

For example, inheritance rules favoured the individual over the extended family. Kings were answerable to representative councils, Witans, which on occasion dictated terms to the sovereign. There was no separate aristocratic caste.

Above all, our remote ancestors came up with a legal system whereby the law grew like a coral, case by case, rather than being handed down by the government.

It is a bottom-up rather than top-down system and is therefore the property of the people not the state. Again and again, it has proved a sure defence against tyranny.

The happy accident of Great Britain being an island meant there was no need for a permanent standing army. Taxes were commensurately low, and the government commensurately weak. If the regime needed resources, it had to collect them by consent through the people's representatives.

It is no coincidence that all the world's oldest parliaments are on islands: England, Iceland, the Isle of Man, the Faroes. Because the state was weak, the individual was conversely strong.

In terms of the economy, for the first time since farming became widespread 6,000 years ago, it became more rewarding to make or sell things than to seize them from others. Production, as sociologists put it, became more attractive than predatory behaviour.

Social mobility rewarded effort. Prosperity followed. After hundreds of thousands of years of economic flat-lining, the human species took off.

English-speakers carried their unique political culture with them over the seas. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand formed a common and unique civilisation.

But the ideas could be spread without direct settlement: anyone could buy into them. This is why Bermuda is not Haiti, why Hong Kong is not China, why Singapore is not Indonesia.


'Freedom of speech has been abandoned'

Elsewhere, democracy took a different turn, elevating majority rule over individual liberty.

Not surprisingly, our values have come under constant attack.

In the 1930s the democratic-capitalist order was rejected by fascists and communists, who saw it as past its prime. 'Capitalism has run its course,' Hitler proclaimed.

Authoritarians of the Left and Right saw individualism as a perversion of the natural order. They believed statist ideologies, which elevated martial vigour, collective endeavour and self-sacrifice, were bound to triumph.

Yet what the Nazis called 'decadent Anglo-Saxon liberalism' was not in decline at all. It triumphed in 1945. Two generations later it also saw off the Marxist monolith of the Soviet Union, to emerge as the most successful system on earth.

The tragedy of our present age is that it is now under siege at home.

Having developed the most successful system of government known to the human race, the English-speaking peoples are turning on their own creation.

One vivid illustration of the problem is our approach to Europe.

Ever since I was elected to the European Parliament in 1999, a question has nagged away at me: how many of the EU's 28 member states have my unshakable commitment to freedom under the law?

The truth is that the rule of law is regularly set aside when it stands in the way of what Brussels' elites want.

Committed? Members of the European Parliament (pictured) set aside the rule of law to bail out countries such as Greece

Committed? Members of the European Parliament (pictured) set aside the rule of law to bail out countries such as Greece

For example, the euro-zone bailouts of countries such as Greece were in blatant defiance of Article 125 of the EU Treaty (which makes it illegal for one member to assume the debts of another).

Yet, as soon as it became clear that the euro wouldn't survive without cash transfusions, the law was set aside.

To British eyes, the whole process seemed bizarre. Rules had been drawn up but, the moment they became inconvenient, they were ignored. In Brussels, though, objections seemed pernickety, legalistic and altogether very British.

EU laws are initiated by unelected officials. Taxes are levied without popular consent. Power shifts inexorably from elected representatives to standing bureaucracies.

As for the idea that the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion, this is regarded in Brussels as the ultimate Anglophone fetish.

Whenever the EU extends its jurisdiction into a new field - for instance, decreeing what vitamins we can buy, what hours we may work, how herbal remedies are to be regulated - I ask what specific problem the new rules are needed to solve.

The response is always the same. 'But the old system was unregulated!'

The idea that absence of regulation might be a natural state of affairs is seen as preposterous.

Two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who saw himself as a true heir to the British liberal tradition, warned of the risks of 'corruption, plunder and waste' when governments get too big.

We could do with a Jefferson today as power shifts from people to government, from local authorities to the centre, from elected representatives to bureaucrats, and as the state machine becomes bigger, more extravagant and yet, oddly, less effective.

Jefferson immortally promised his countrymen 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. By contrast, the EU's Charter of Fundamental Freedoms guarantees the right to strike action, free healthcare and affordable housing.

In the short term, of course, shorter working days, two-hour lunch breaks, long holidays and early retirement are very nice.

The trouble is that, when people enter the workforce older, leave it younger, and in all probability spend the few years in between working for the Government, it means no one is generating much wealth. There comes a point when the money runs out.

Europe has reached that point - or at least ordinary Europeans, trapped in their stagnant economies, have. Money is still plentiful for our gourmandising, Michelin-starred Eurocrats.

Heir to the liberal tradition: US Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, pictured, warned of the risks of big government

Heir to the liberal tradition: US Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, pictured, warned of the risks of big government

Why do British Leftists not recoil from an undemocratic, elitist European project that is harming the least well off? Why don't they prefer the tried civil freedoms of the Anglosphere?

George Orwell wrote disparagingly of 'the masochism of the English Left', by which he meant its readiness to ally with any cause, however vile, provided it was sufficiently Anglophobic. He cited the IRA and Stalinism. Today, he might cite some of the extremist Islamist groups.

Struggle to preserve the traditional culture and way of life of, say, the Bedouin or the Masai, and you're a hero. But argue for those values which, let's face it, give us longer, easier and wealthier lives than anything dreamed up by such tribes - and you're a bigot.

Nationalism, it seems, is fine for Leftist opponents of the English-speaking world. It's fine for South American Chavists, or African anti-colonialists or Ba'athists in the Arab world. It's fine for separatists in Quebec or Wales. Patriotism in the Anglosphere, however, is decried as chauvinism or racism.

Free speech used to be a key distinguishing characteristic of the these values. Not any more. Since the early 1990s, laws have criminalised various forms of opinion on the grounds that they might cause offence to someone, typically from a racial or religious minority.

Throughout the Cold War, there was absolute freedom of speech in most English-speaking countries. We liked to tell each other that, unlike the poor wretches behind the Iron Curtain, we couldn't have our collar grabbed by a police officer for saying the wrong thing.

Now freed from the menace of communism, we casually abandon one of the principles for which we had been fighting. People are arrested for such offences as quoting Bible verses that might offend gay people, or being rude about jihadi extremists.

In one especially preposterous case, a pianist in my constituency was investigated by the police for racism because, at a dinner dance, he played the disco-hit Kung-Fu Fighting in the hearing of a Chinese couple.

These sudden restrictions on free expression are the result of the elevation of human-rights charters promoted by international bodies over democratically elected legislatures.

In just two decades, international law has moved from covering cross-border issues such as the status of diplomats and maritime rights, to behind-border issues, such as labour law and the rights of minorities.

In every English-speaking democracy, the executive has grown to a degree that earlier generations would have found incredible.

Like the robots of Isaac Asimov's science fiction, this proliferation of agencies and executive bodies have learned to programme each other without human intervention.

This unstoppable machine has outgrown democratic scrutiny.


'Uphold our way of life and you're branded a bigot'

The CSA, HSE, FSA and the rest of the alphabet soup of unelected agencies are the driving force of a cradle-to-grave interventionist state that won't let us get on with our lives. As a result, we now have tax levels that would once have prompted revolution.

In 1900, a British household typically spent 8.5 per cent of its income on government - a figure little changed since the days of the medieval tithe. Now it's 46 per cent and by far the largest item of household expenditure of working families.

Tax levels have reached saturation point, but spending continues to rise. In order to cover the difference, governments are borrowing from what Shakespeare called 'your children yet unborn and unbegot'.

Once, we nurtured a unique political culture in which the individual was larger than the state, and in which there were mechanisms to hold the government to account. Those mechanisms are becoming so rusty that they are ceasing to work at all.

Here in the UK, laws are passed by European Commissioners, who are appointed not elected.
The connection between taxation and representation has been broken.

Even common law itself, the first and last bulwark of our traditional liberty, is being battered down by the primacy of EU law.

Bit by bit, our country starts to look like everyone else's.

Its taxes rise; its legislature loses ground to the executive and to an activist judiciary; it accepts foreign law codes and charters as supreme; it drops the notion of free contract; it prescribes whom you may employ and on what terms; it expands its bureaucracy; it forgets its history.

How silently, how complacently, our generation is losing its heritage. At a time when Asian states are liberalising, we in the English-speaking states are going in the opposite direction on the road to uniformity, centralisation, high taxation, and state control.

But I argue there is nothing inevitable about this process.

Advocate: Winston Churchill was a great supporter of 'the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples'

Advocate: Winston Churchill was a great supporter of 'the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples'

Our values, with their unique emphasis on individualism, ought to be perfectly designed to flourish in the age of the internet (another of our inventions).

We should remember who we are. We should capitalise on our shared heritage by setting up an Anglosphere free-trade area, based on the unhindered movement of goods, services, capital and, in some measure, labour.

It's not such a preposterous idea. The U.S. and Canada already form a single market as do Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. has a free-trade agreement with Australia.

India, a common-law, English-speaking democracy, would be a very welcome addition to this economic bloc. It is now the second-largest investor in the UK, its economy is poised to overtake ours, it is a nuclear power and a major military ally - and it has achieved all this while remaining a law-based democracy.

The main obstacle to such a free-trade area is that Britain, being a member of the EU, cannot sign independent commercial agreements, but are instead held back by Brussels protectionism.

When we leave the EU (which I believe will happen), the first thing we should do is to negotiate an Anglosphere free market.

The word 'Anglosphere' was first used in a science fiction novel 20 years ago. But the idea is much older. Winston Churchill was the great advocate of what he called 'the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples'.

If transported to our present age, I think he would be bewildered and depressed by its terrible loss of confidence.

He would wonder why, having seen off the authoritarian challenges of both fascism and Marxism, we now seem so ready to discard the things that had raised us to greatness.

But he would be optimistic, as ever, and rightly so. For we are not finished yet. We remain an inventive, quizzical, enterprising people, if we hold fast to the model that made us that way.

It is time to throw away the self-doubt and revive, revitalise and expand our value system.

  • Extracted from How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters by Daniel Hannan, published by Head of Zeus at £20. © 2013 Daniel Hannan. To order a copy for £16.99 (incl p&p) call 0844 472 4157.

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Fwd: [New post] Yo, It All Good …





Sard posted: ""

New post on therightplanet.com

Yo, It All Good …

by Sard
Sard | November 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p1SHGG-bA8

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Fwd: [New post] Children’s Book About Obama Claims White People ‘Would Never Vote for a Black President’





Harold posted: "Charlie Kirk11/23/2013Source ..... In Dupo, Illinois, fourth graders at Buffview Elementary are reading a biography of President Obama that is beginning to raise major concerns for parents and members of the community. The book is entitled Barack Obama an"
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New post on ACGR's "News with Attitude"

Children's Book About Obama Claims White People 'Would Never Vote for a Black President'

by Harold

Charlie Kirk 11/23/2013 Source ..... In Dupo, Illinois, fourth graders at Buffview Elementary are reading a biography of President Obama that is beginning to raise major concerns for parents and members of the community. The book is entitled Barack Obama and is written by Jane Sutcliffe and published by Lerner. This book complies with the […]

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Fwd: [New post] Food stamp benefits cut to funnel money into Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign





Harold posted: "Jonathan Benson11/24/2013Source ..... Major cuts to the federal food stamp program, now known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), came into effect on November 1, which means millions of American families on food assistance will now receiv"
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New post on ACGR's "News with Attitude"

Food stamp benefits cut to funnel money into Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign

by Harold

Jonathan Benson 11/24/2013 Source ..... Major cuts to the federal food stamp program, now known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), came into effect on November 1, which means millions of American families on food assistance will now receive about $29 less per month in benefits. And according to the New York Post, the roughly […]

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Fwd: [New post] SYRIA: Well, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the Obama-backed FSA ‘rebels’ tried to decapitate Jesus



BareNakedIslam posted: " FSA terrorists attack ancient convent in Saidnaya, home of Syria's recently erected tallest Jesus statue. The Cherubim convent situated on the highest summit of the Qalamoun mountains has recently erected a towering Jesus statue in Syria, even larger tha"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

SYRIA: Well, we knew it wouldn't be long before the Obama-backed FSA 'rebels' tried to decapitate Jesus

by BareNakedIslam

FSA terrorists attack ancient convent in Saidnaya, home of Syria's recently erected tallest Jesus statue. The Cherubim convent situated on the highest summit of the Qalamoun mountains has recently erected a towering Jesus statue in Syria, even larger than that in Rio de Janeiro. However, militants from the Obama-armed and funded Free Syrian Army (FSA) […]

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Fwd: Valerie Jarrett's Green Light Deal For Iranian Nukes





http://theulstermanreport.com/2013/11/24/valerie-jarretts-green-light-deal-for-iranian-nukes/

Valerie Jarrett's Green Light Deal For Iranian Nukes

In a move to push the Obamacare disaster off the front page, the Obama White House unleashed a barrage of publicity for what they are claiming to be a breakthrough deal with Iran regarding that rogue nation's nuclear development program.  The reality of the deal should be far less acceptable to anyone hoping for peace in the Middle East, or who remains fearful of a nation that has repeated over and over again its intent to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

De facto president Valerie Jarrett – the one who tells Barack Obama to jump, and Barack Obama in turn asks, "How high?"

__________________________________________

In recent weeks, there were a myriad of reports suggesting Valerie Jarrett, who has no foreign and/or military policy experience, was conducting secret negotiations with the Iranians.  While the White House initially ignored, then refuted these reports, does it not seem a very big coincidence then that these reports were quickly followed up by the current White House crowing over a deal now having been struck with Iran?

And for those few readers who may not already know – Valerie Jarrett is Iranian born.

Now on to the just released details of the Iranian agreement itself.

First, it is a six month agreement which will allow Iranians to continue developing its nuclear program AND receive BILLIONS in financial support from reduced economic  sanctions.  It is, in essence a deal which as the West giving up almost everything, and the Iranians giving up nothing – agreeing to what is merely a promise to not make nuclear weapons, while at the same time, further developing its nuclear program.

This is the kind of diplomacy the Obama White House is attempting to pat itself on the back for?

What about the Iranians themselves who are now telling the world that the United States, via this agreements, has "formally" recognized its right to continue its nuclear program?  Here are the words of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani:

"Let anyone make his own reading, but this right is clearly stated in the text of the agreement that Iran can continue its enrichment, and I announce to our people that our enrichment activities will continue as before."

The Iranian government has long argued its nuclear program is meant only to increase the nation's energy production, but that argument has been spoken at the very same time they have shared this kind of war mongering sentiment regarding Israel:

"A wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed."

That quote was spoken by Iranian President Rouhani just a few months ago.  The same President Rouhani who is claiming the current agreement by the Obama administration as a clear victory for Iran.

The same agreement earlier reports suggested was initiated and overseen by Valerie Jarrett.

Iranian born Valerie Jarrett.

 





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Fwd: Dozens of lawsuits used to hide 'Islamic realities'







Dozens of lawsuits used to hide 'Islamic realities'

 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which according to FBI evidence was founded by the Egyptian-based, Saudi-funded Muslim Brotherhood, has filed more than 150 lawsuits over a two-year period that have been aimed at stifling speech – all with the goal of hiding "Islamic realities," according to a think tank's report.

CAIR has been described by authorities as a front group for Hamas to promote Islam in the U.S.

It was the Florida-based national security think tank Citizens for National Security that released the report, "Council on American-Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation" to every member of Congress.

CFNS co-founder William Saxton said the study focuses on CAIR's practice of "lawfare" to silence critics and force corporations, private citizens and charitable organizations to pay large sums of money to settle lawsuits out of court.

Saxton said the two-year task force project found CAIR has filed more than 150 lawsuits with the intention of silencing critics.

"CAIR has a pattern of behavior and a specific campaign of intimidation to stifle free speech. By stifling free speech, they're hoping to prevent the public from seeing Islamic realities," Saxton said.

Peter Leitner, also a co-founder for CFNS, confirmed other Islam analysts' findings that the Muslim Brotherhood established CAIR to engage in "misinformation."

"CAIR is the operational part of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. As such, and as part of Hamas, they're the domestic side of an international terrorist group. What they're doing is psychological operations," Leitner said.

"Their mission to do misinformation and psy-ops is for the purpose of supporting jihadist movements in the United States and Canada," Leitner said.

Contacted by WND, CAIR declined to respond to a request for comment.

Some of CAIR's activities came to light during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial.

Leitner says CAIR hopes to stay one step ahead of the public.

"More people in the U. S. know about CAIR and their connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. But they're hoping that not enough people will recognize who they are until the Muslim population in the U. S. can grow big enough to be politically powerful enough," Leitner said.

Leitner said CAIR's "masquerade is to divert attention from the Islamic threat in the U. S. by oversensitizing law enforcement and intelligence officials."

"To make that happen, they've infiltrated their agents into the various national security agencies," Leitner said.

CAIR intimidates the government agencies into providing "trainers" for law enforcement, he pointed out.

"They want to provide sensitivity training to misdirect people's attention away from the real threat," he said, and "stifle free speech among critics of Islam via lawsuits and further threats of legal action."

Leitner explained that the Muslim Brotherhood begin infiltrating universities and colleges in the U.S. in 1962 through the Muslim Students Association, beginning with Palestinians and later through Pakistanis.

A significant portion of Muslim Brotherhood funding comes from outside the U.S., Leitner noted.

The money, Leitner says, is used to fund an entire network of Islamic groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Along with stifling free speech, Leitner points to a second major purpose.

Groups such as the Muslim American Society, Muslims of the Americas and Jam'at al-Fuqua, which began in 1980, have infiltrated the culture enough that American converts to Islam have formed their own groups.

"John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, is an example of one of their converts. We all know he ended up in Afghanistan fighting against U. S. troops," Leitner said.

Leitner added that the method employed once influence has been gained is disinformation.

"Their greatest work is to create a grand illusion of a peaceful religion to distract attention from what their real plan is," Leitner said.

He also says the lawfare tactics ares fundraising mechanism.

He cited a fight with Nike.

"They threatened to boycott if Nike didn't change their logo because 'it looked like' the Arabic name for Allah at a great distance," Leitner said.

CAIR forced Nike to apologize to the Islamic community, globally recalled the shoes in question, cooperated with CAIR in a redesign of logos and images and donated $50,000 to the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Washington, D.C., for playground equipment.

The report has details on CAIR's 150 lawsuits or cases against government agencies, corporations and private foundations.

"CAIR even went after the producers of 'South Park' for how they portrayed Muhammad. They've gone after cartoonists, TV producers and tea party groups," Leitner said.

Leitner said the sheer volume of CAIR's legal actions prompted U. S. law enforcement agencies to dig into CAIR's extended relationships and connections. Once the FBI and city police departments began to investigate, they found CAIR had connections to the network of the "blind sheik," Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Leitner said CAIR takes advantage of constitutional freedoms "to deny us our freedoms."

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a frequent advocate for persecuted Christians, affirmed that his committee  research shows that CAIR and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated terrorist organizations pose a real security threat.

"The threat is real and I serve on the committee that has jurisdiction of the FBI. We've put language in a bill that will completely prevent the FBI from involving themselves with CAIR," Wolf said.

"An example of the depth of the threat comes from the Somali al-Qaida-affiliate al-Shabaab. Imams recruit for al-Shabaab from Somali groups in Minneapolis. Not only that, they're telling Somalis not to cooperate with federal authorities who are investigating the Somali mosques," Wolf said.

The FBI has become more cautious in its dealings with CAIR, he said, as has his committee.

"I know we've been very careful interacting with any group that is involved with CAIR," Wolf said. "I refused to go to any group that has connections to CAIR."

IMPORTANT NOTE: Help fight CAIR's legal attack on WND's author. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of "Muslim Mafia" co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR's lawsuit. The book's revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can't do it without your help. Muslims 'draw line in the sand' in D.C.


Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2013/11/dozens-of-lawsuits-used-to-hide-islamic-realities/#0ejVKc55t5MsvTkr.99

 



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Fwd: White House orders review of 5 million security clearances






 

White House orders review of 5 million security clearances

Published time: November 22, 2013 22:56

Edited time: November 23, 2013 00:29

http://rt.com/usa/clapper-demands-security-clearance-review-173/

 

 

Officials in the Obama administration have demanded that federal government

agencies evaluate how a total of five million Americans have been granted

classified information security clearances and, of those, how many truly

require it.

 

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in a document obtained by

Politico, questioned why more than 1.4 million people have been authorized

for a "Top Secret" clearance level. Approximately 3.5 million Americans have

lesser security clearance levels.

 

Pundits and lawmakers alike have wondered how secure the vetting process is

after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and suspected Washington Navy Yard

shooter Aaron Alexis were granted security clearance.

 

"I write to express my concern about threats to national security resulting

from the increasing number of people with eligibility for access to

classified national security information, particularly Top Secret (TS) and

Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information (TS/SCI)," Clapper wrote.

 

The directive was dated October 31 and cited at a Senate hearing earlier

this week. Clapper instructed agencies to examine which employees were on a

need to know basis and to revoke access to classified material for those who

were not.

 

No deadline was mentioned in the notice according to Politico but a Clapper

aide reportedly told a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs

subcommittee the process should be completed by the end of January.

 

"I ask that agency heads.conduct a comprehensive review validating that

each government employee or contractor who has been granted a security

clearance continues to require such eligibility for access to classified

national security information in support of their current position or your

agency's mission," Clapper continued. "Agencies should debrief all

government and contractor personnel who no longer require such access and

update the appropriate national security database or repository."

 

The number of US citizens with security clearances is not only a security

burden, Clapper wrote, but a financial one at a time when federal monetary

constraints seem are as tight as they have been in recent memory.

 

"As a result of budget shortfalls and the impacts of sequestration, several

agencies temporarily suspended the initiation of periodic reinvestigations,"

he said. "Such actions foster counterintelligence and national security

risk."

 

Much of the problem, Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) said, is the ongoing

policy of over-classification. Much of the information marked top secret may

pose no threat to national security and in fact could be merely a source of

embarrassment for any of the various federal agencies.

 

The topic, addressed in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, was

addressed in a Senate hearing this week when lawmakers wondered why Clapper

does not also order periodic reviews of what information is classified.

 

"Today, there are nearly five million individuals with a security clearance.

Five million," Tester said. "And there are no indications that number will

decrease any time soon. But it only takes one individual to slip through the

cracks."

 

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