By David Sirota
It is appalling that during an ongoing investigation, a White House adviser who has acknowledged helping leak classified information to the media still has access to the government's most secret information. That's right - Karl Rove still can peer into all the secret material he wants, maybe even to punish another honest opponent of the Bush administration. It's why critics are rightfully demanding that, short of firing Rove, President Bush must at least immediately revoke Rove's government security clearance. And if the past is any guide, that request has historical precedent.
As a brief review of the last decade of news shows, the government has quickly revoked the security clearance of lower-profile figures that Rove when they have become embroiled in allegations of leaking or mishandling classified/sensitive material:
SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED FOR ALLEGATIONS OF PASSING CLASSIFIED INFO TO MEDIA: "Mr. Maloof's Pentagon career was damaged in December 2001, when his security clearances were revoked. He was accused of having unauthorized contact with a foreign national, a woman he had met while traveling in the Republic of Georgia and eventually married. Mr. Maloof said he complied with all requirements to disclose the relationship. Several intelligence professionals say he came under scrutiny because of suspicions that he had leaked classified information in the past to the news media..." [NY Times, 4/28/04]
SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED FOR REVEALING CIA SECRETS TO MEDIA: "Richard Nuccio, a former State Department specialist on Guatemala whose top-secret security clearance was revoked last year for allegedly exposing CIA secrets" to the New York Times. [AP, 3/20/97]
SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED FOR MISUSE OF SECRET INFO: "[Former CIA Director] Deutch's intelligence clearances were revoked last year because he had violated security rules by keeping classified information on computers at his house." [NY Times, 2/6/00]
These past examples were very serious matters. That's why the government moved to revoke security clearances - and that's why Rove's clearance also need to be revoked. Clearly, these past examples are in the same league of seriousness as a top White House official leaking classified information to the media and compromising national security in order to punish a political opponent. That's why the exact same response is warranted. No person - even the President's top political guru - should be above the law, and above historical precedent in protecting America's national security.
Critics demand Rove's government security clearance be revoked: