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Somewhat lost in the noise during Mitt's foreign policy meltdown this week is the news that he isn't yet getting the traditional presidential candidate's intelligence briefings. I've read a couple of explanations for this.

First, it was reported that Mitt's campaign hadn't asked for them.

Now it seems that the government requires a security clearance for the candidate in order to get the briefings.

Hmmmmmmm. Follow me over the jump for a few thoughts.

I've held high security clearances, as has my wife, so I know a little about the process, which gets more thorough and intrusive as the level of clearance increases.

They are looking for many things in addition to the obvious ones like financial problems, criminal convictions, etc. They want to see a life without mysterious interruptions (3 months in a Russian spy indoctrination camp?) or unexplained financial circumstances (large bank deposits? foreign bank accounts?). They can peer into EVERY nook and cranny of your life.... no, you can't say 'I'll just give you 1 or 2 years of tax returns'... they don't ask, they take...........

Waitaminit! Foreign bank accounts?

Yeah, if I got a job and was put in for a high security clearance, and the investigation revealed that I had a bank account in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, or Bermuda, that would be the end of that. EVEN if I told them about it up front. They wouldn't bother to ask why, they wouldn't negotiate, they wouldn't argue with my team of lawyers and accountants. They wouldn't care that I'm already filthy rich.

Bottom line, next to a dalliance with a known Russian or Chinese spy, having a place to park untraceable money has to be the biggest red flag possible.

So it wouldn't suprise me in the least if there is a file sitting on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's desk right now with a big red DENIED stamp on it, and she's going to have to head over to the White House to figure out what to do about it.

Because if the investigators followed the rules that apply to you and I, there is NO WAY Mitt Romney legitimately gets cleared for the level of intelligence that's in the President's daily briefing.

I have no doubt that he will get that clearance, but wouldn't it be rich if word seeped out that he needed a waiver from the President?

Or that they have to scrub his briefings down to a lower security level?


8:59 AM PT: Wow! Rec list for the first time!

Thanks everybody for putting this topic in the spotlight, where it will hopefully get even more exposure.

Special thanks to the commenters for adding aspects of this topic I didn't think about - this would be a good front-page topic with a bit more research.


9:56 AM PT: Because it has come up in some comments, let me clarify something I should have stipulated in the original diary:

The sitting President has clearance for EVERYTHING, period.

My diary has to do with Mitt Romney who was nominated as a presidential candidate by a political party, and whether he would be granted a high-level security clearance under normal circumstances.

Apologies for any confusion, and thanks to those who brought up this point.


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