Why The Hell Does Jared Kushner Get A Pass?
So once upon a time I staggered into a Navy Recruiter’s office and volunteered to serve my country.
Well, that’s not quite how it went — I was actually sober and of sound mind when I decided I had nothing better going on in my life and that I’d always wanted to serve so on that fateful day in July of 2003 there I was, right hand up, ready to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.
And that was that.
Yeah, at some point I had second thoughts about what I was doing because there’s always going to be some doubt when you embark on something as serious as signing your life away to Uncle Sam and one of the things I worried about was if I was going to screw this up rather badly.
As it would turn out I found I wasn’t too shabby at this Navy stuff — hell, I daresay I was even pretty good at it and I even have the glowing evaluation reports to back it up.
Now I don’t claim to be a heavily decorated war hero or anything — far from it. I was given orders, I obeyed and carried them out to the best of my abilities and apparently I did this on time, under budget and correctly.
I had a job to do and I did it. No more, no less like my fellow shipmates past and present.
I once knew a former sailor who told me that if I really wanted to have a good time in the Navy that I should (at the first available opportunity) get myself a Far East post, Japan or South Korea because…well, he made it sound like a lot of fun (girls and drinking aside, of course).
Granted, this is the Navy — it’s the military and you’re expected to carry out your duties as ordered so don’t even think for a moment you’re going to fuck off as that will earn you some serious shit flung your way that you don’t need.
However, there’s a time to chill when the chill is right and when it’s right there’s certainly some fun to be had and that Old Salt was spot on in his assessment of duty in the Far East.
In short, I had a blast.
Hey, there’s no rule that says you can’t be in the military and have a good time simultaneously but in order to have this good time I first had to make a Faustian dipshit deal: I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I wanted to have this good time in a post of my choosing I was required (along with everyone else) to get a security clearance.
Enter Standard Form 86.
For the record I loathe classified work. I’m the kind of person who likes to talk about their job so to accept that kind of bind on my mouth is about as fun as a prostate exam — necessary but you’d rather be doing something else.
The other hang-up I have with classified work is that when you sign on it’s an open invitation into every facet of your life going back ten years so if there’s some things in those ten years you’re not particularly proud of well…too bad, so sad, sucks to be you.
Basically you’ve just invited Uncle Sam up your ass with a microscope and woe be unto you if you try to hide anything from him.
Upon receiving your Standard Form (SF) 86 you are instructed to fill out everything truthfully, completely and accurately and just in case you think you’re going to try to fudge your past to Uncle Sam you are treated to this little gem:
The U.S. Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five (5) years imprisonment.
In short, SF-86 is a probe and a test of your truthfulness and veracity. You are about to be entrusted with aspects of the nation’s secrets and in order to be entrusted with them you first have to prove beyond all doubt that you are someone to be trusted so your best bet when filling out this form is to lay it on the line.
Got arrested over some stupid shit in 1995 you’re not particularly proud of? Well, they’re going to find out anyway and since they asked if you’ve ever been arrested you need to tell them about it because if it pops up during the background investigation and you failed to mention it your “omission” could very well jeopardize the security of the United States — not to mention you could end up fined/in prison/definitely not having any fun in that Far East post you wanted.
Oh yeah…as a enlisted Navy man there was no way in hell I was going to be afforded the opportunity to go back and amend my SF-86 because I “forgot” to tell them about an arrest in 1995. I was going to be afforded only one chance at this and I couldn’t screw this up.
Let’s say they somehow manage to overlook my “omission” and they grant me a security clearance only to discover later that I had omitted something I should have declared — at this point I’m going to get my security clearance yanked and possibly hauled off to Leavenworth or Quantico for the next five years on top of paying hefty fines.
I have to ask this question: why the hell does this Jared Kushner fellow who works in the White House, has access to more classified material than I ever got to handle suddenly get a pass when it’s discovered he was talking to representatives of an adversarial government — namely, the Russians and didn’t bother to disclose this on his SF-86?
Moreover, why isn’t Jared Kushner being hauled off to Quantico in irons, facing heavy fines and definitely no longer working at the White House?
One of the things the SF-86 asks you is if you’ve had any dealings with foreign governments or representatives of foreign governments and if you have you are to explain in detail what that was all about.
Remember what I said about SF-86 being a probe and a test. It’s no secret that there’s a huge backlog of processing security clearance requests and the last thing the government needs is to conduct background checks for clearance candidates who aren’t serious enough about their clearance to simply tell the truth on a government form.
As a former Navy enlisted man who once held a clearance mine would have been revoked for far less serious reasons than this and Jared Kushner should not be an exception even if he is the son-in-law of the President.