Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the former staff secretary to President Clinton, said the Rob Porter scandal in the White House isn’t just a moral issue but a national security problem as well.
Maloney, D-N.Y., said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday the fact that former staff secretary Rob Porter was allowed to work for more than a year without a security clearance is a terrible mistake in judgment on the part of President Trump and other White House leaders.
The FBI’s background check process is so deep that it wouldn’t have taken long to know that Porter, who has been accused of abusing his two ex-wives, wouldn’t receive a security clearance.
“These guys knew in the first month of the administration about a fact pattern that would have permanently disqualified him from doing the job,” Maloney said. “He never should have been in the chair. There are a stack of red folders marked top secret. Every day our nation’s highest secrets are seen by the staff secretary.”
“There's a burn bag under the desk because you burn the materials when you're done. The idea that someone without a security clearance was allowed to be there in the first place, despite these allegations, and was allowed to stay there with no plan to get him a clearance, is not the normal process.”
Maloney said virtually very document the president receives is at first seen by the staff secretary. That meant Porter had access to state secrets and incredibly important information on a regular basis.
He should have been sidelined immediately and put in another job in order to protect the country, Maloney added.
No one without a security clearance should have that kind of access, he said.
“The national security doesn't give a memo to the president. He gives it to the staff secretary who gives it to the president. That means the staff secretary literally sees everything,” he said. “You know this. Therefore you cannot have someone seeing our nation's secret who has a secret of their own. They're so easy to blackmail. That’s why you do a background check.”
It's the kind of mistake that people must be held accountable for, and Maloney believes it falls on chief of staff John Kelly's shoulders.
"He's up to his neck in it. He chose not to deal with it and that is not competent. We brought this guy in to bring order to the house," he said. "We thought Kelly was the guy who could to manage the place. But if you’re going to clean up Aisle 8, you can’t be throwing around jars of tomato sauce. You cannot make a bigger mess than you're cleaning up."