The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

I Hate to Be the One to Say I Told You So, But...

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 1 Issue 2

The first step to overcoming a situation is to admit you have a problem. Last week, the Washington Times conducted an intervention for the Clinton State Department. Yet another security lapse was uncovered by reporters at the Washington Times, despite State Department claims that its security was tightened after a Russian bug was found in its headquarters.

The latest known breech took place at the Diplomatic Communication Center, or State Department Annex 43, in Fairfax, Virginia. Security measures were bypassed when the Times reporter jiggled the knob and was admitted. Although the reporter did not have an electronic identification card, the private security guard opened the door without even asking for identification. Amazingly, this one "guard" is all that stands between the building and any potential spies or terrorists.

This latest security lapse only highlights the Clinton-Gore Administrationís failure to secure vital American technology and intelligence.

At long last, former U.S. government physicist, Wen Ho Lee, was indicted last week on 59 criminal charges. He was fired from Los Alamos National Laboratory for security violations. Lee had high-level security clearance and worked on research and design of nuclear weapons. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the indictment was an "overdue step" and that early mistakes by the Justice Department may "prevent the American people from ever learning what Wen Ho Lee did with the classified information he illegally transferred to a non-secure computer."

The facts are alarmingly clear. The Times reported that an audit by State Department Inspector General Jacqueline Williams-Bridgers found that visitors, contractors and maintenance workers were allowed to roam freely, unescorted, all over State Department headquarters. The practice was supposedly stopped, but ABC News reported that as many as 150 foreigners a day were accessing the building and 140 rooms at State had not yet been swept for listening devices.

The cause of our national security breeches can be addressed with one word: "priorities." Vice President Gore, in his attempt to "reinvent" government, has eliminated strategic safeguards needed to properly identify and address security risks. Protection of our national secrets is of such little concern to those in the White House today, that most State Department buildings are severely undermanned, and are forced to use private, poorly prepared security guards. One source even told the Times, "...we have been complaining constantly that there is only one officer... no one has listened to us." Another security source said that the number of guards working inside the building was once higher, but has slowly dwindled to one per shift.