Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Filing the SF-86 Form

 Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t disclose meetings that he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance.  He had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times, but failed to report those interactions on the SF-86 form, which requires him to list any contact he or his family had with a foreign government or its official representatives over the past seven years.

Sessions had already come under significant criticism from congressional Democrats following revelations that he didn’t disclose contacts with Ambassador Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearing on January 10th.  At that confirmation hearing Sessions testified that he did not have communications with the Russians during the campaign.  He was sworn in as attorney general February 9th, and subsequently received a security clearance.

According to Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, Sessions initially listed a year's worth of meetings with foreign officials on the security clearance form.  But, he and his staff were then told by an unidentified FBI employee who assisted in filling out the form, that he didn't need to list those meetings with foreign ambassadors that happened in his capacity as a senator.

Mark Zaid is a Washington attorney who specializes in national security law disagrees with that Justice Department's explanation.  He insists: "My interpretation is that a member of Congress would still have to reveal the appropriate foreign government contacts notwithstanding it was on official business."

Sessions omission came after problems Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the President's ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn had on their own issues with failing to disclose required information on their security forms. 

Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI's Russia investigation on March 2cd, the day after The Washington Post reported that he had undisclosed meetings with Kislyak during the campaign.


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