By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The administration that failed to adequately “vet” Edward Snowden is saying that it has “vetted” rebels in Syria for U.S. support. “We have a Free Syrian Army and a moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with that we have vetted,” Obama told “Meet the Press” last Sunday. Our media never bother to ask for any proof of this. Who performed the vetting? How was it done?
The Obama administration doesn’t have a very good record of vetting anybody, starting at the top.
The term “vetting” means to “make a careful and critical examination of.” Another definition is to “investigate someone thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.”
The scandals in this area keep on coming. “The Office of Personnel Management will not renew any of its contracts with USIS [US Investigations Services], the major Falls Church, Va., contractor that provides the bulk of background checks for federal security clearances and was the victim of a recent cyberattack,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The paper said that USIS had conducted background clearances for National Security Agency “leaker” Edward Snowden, who fled to Moscow after disclosing secret intelligence operations to Glenn Greenwald and others.
Snowden is now living in Moscow under the protection of Vladimir Putin’s secret police. Greenwald was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Snowden’s leaks have made it possible for America’s enemies to go on the offensive from Ukraine to the Middle East, helping to create the foreign policy problems that Obama is now pretending to confront.
USIS reported that it served “more than 20 federal agencies and has historically completed 40% of the background investigations for the U.S. Government each year, conducting approximately 21,000 background investigations per month.”
It also claims that the company “followed all OPM-mandated procedures and protocols in its background investigation of Edward Snowden.” OPM is the federal Office of Personnel Management.
So the vetters are pointing fingers.
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “does not have [a] security clearance to get classified information from the feds—unlike his two predecessors—and he has never even bothered to apply for it…” The paper added, “A law enforcement source said Tuesday that if de Blasio does apply for clearance, he will have to endure an arduous vetting process that would include questions about his 1991 trip to Communist Cuba and support of the Marxist Sandinista regime during his visit to Nicaragua in the 1980s.”
Would it be the same as the “arduous vetting process” that cleared Snowden? Snowden was a high school dropout who contributed to the Ron Paul for president campaign. That was enough to get him jobs at the CIA and NSA.
As we noted at the time, de Blasio didn’t disavow his communist background once it came to light. However, he did still insist—to much laughter—that his trip to Cuba was a “honeymoon.”
Obama decided to cover up, at least in some respects. He concealed as just “Frank,” the identity of a Communist Party operative who mentored him during his growing up years in Hawaii. Analyst Trevor Loudon discovered the real identity of “Frank,” and we confirmed it.
In our September 2, 2008, column, “Who Vetted Obama?,” we noted that Obama’s 30-year history of associating with unsavory characters, beginning with communist Frank Marshall Davis and continuing with Jeremiah Wright and communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, should have disqualified him from getting a security clearance in the government that he wants to run. But no vetting of Obama was ever done. The media turned away from these shocking facts.
Former FBI supervisor Max Noel has pointed out that the FBI once utilized a CARL test when it conducted background checks on people for high-level positions. The acronym CARL stands for Character, Associates, Reputation, and Loyalty. No such vetting was done in Obama’s case. He could never have passed.
Candidates for federal office, in contrast to federal employment, do not undergo any background checks at all.
Yet, it apparently can be done. The Washington Post reported at the time that John McCain’s (R-AZ) vetting process for picking Sarah Palin as his running mate included an FBI background check.
Palin, a conservative, was considered controversial—as opposed to “progressives” like Obama.
On the matter of the “moderate” Syrian rebels that Obama wants the U.S. Congress to support, The New York Times in June reported that Obama requested $500 million for “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition.
So it has gone from just vetting to “appropriate” vetting. As defined by Obama, we suppose.
Van Jones was vetted for a White House position before Trevor Loudon discovered his communist background in a story picked up by Glenn Beck (then with Fox News) that ultimately forced his resignation from the Obama administration. Jones, now a CNN commentator, had also questioned whether Bush officials had deliberately allowed Islamists to conduct the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to go to war in the Middle East.
So the term “vetting” really means nothing, as far as the White House is concerned. It is a dangerous joke. CNN’s hiring of Jones shows the media don’t take the concept seriously, either.
Yet, the term gets repeated in the media, by politicians and reporters. Consider these quotes:
- “I support the President taking military action in Iraq and Syria to combat this organization. I also support his request for additional authority to support the moderate, vetted Syrian opposition. But more must be done.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
- “Congress must stand behind the President in this effort by acting swiftly to provide funds so that the vetted Syrian rebels can take the fight to ISIS in Syria.” Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
- “The White House is asking Congress for $500 million to train and equip vetted pro-Western Syrian opposition groups.” The Hill newspaper
- “The President’s strategy includes training and equipping vetted Syrian rebel groups in camps hosted by Saudi Arabia, whose Sunni leaders have grown increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by Islamic State, U.S. officials said.” Bloomberg News
As if the background investigation problem isn’t bad enough, the personal information that is being collected on some federal employees is being stolen for blackmail purposes.
Reuters reported that the cyberattack on USIS in August acquired highly personal information about workers at the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters, as well as its U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection units.
Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer with the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, said that a foreign government could use the data “to identify individuals who might be vulnerable to extortion and recruitment.”
CrowdStrike had previously identified a Russian government-backed group of hackers, dubbed “Energetic Bear,” that specialized in attacks on U.S. defense contractors, technology companies and government agencies. Alperovitch had called it an “espionage” operation.
Now, an unvetted President with blood on his hands from previous funding of rebels in Libya wants Congress to provide arms and money to Syrian rebels approved and apparently vetted by him.
Sounds like a plan for another Benghazi massacre and another foreign policy disaster for America.