What I Saw at the GOP Convention
Part Two: National Security
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 1 Issue 22 August 11, 2000
The Executive Branch spends billions every year to maintain a perception of national security. But before Bill Clinton and Al Gore came to the White House, policies and procedures, along with lots of highly trained security personnel were used to do more than just maintain an expensive façade.
The well kept dirty secret revealed here today is that Al Gore and his Vice Presidential staff were no better than Clinton, at looking out for Americaís interests, if quality of staff is any measure. Goreís staff - at least the ones I saw through my investigative lenses - were no better than Clintonís, and in some cases, they were much worse.
I resigned my post in the White House because I refused to continue to be part of a massive and dangerous fraud on citizens and the Congress. Those of us in the FBI and Secret Service who were charged with protecting White House secrets flowing through every day, were being prevented from doing our jobs by an administration more interested in a partyís agenda, than in our nationís best interests.
Perhaps therein lies the difference between a future Al Gore Administration or a future George W. Bush administration - it is the way the two competing political groups view the question of exactly what is in the best interest of our nation.
Many of those above the rank and file of our national security agencies were helpless to prevent the security collapse, maybe too afraid or unable to believe the reality of a purposeful monkey wrenching of the system. So, unopposed, the Clinton-Gore Administration did exactly what it wanted to do, and as a predictable by-product the outrageous and debilitating scandals took place - and the laptops and nuclear secrets "walked off" to who knows where.
Those in the system - the security professionals who claim today that they have "no idea" about how these security breaches took place - are simply lying. As an effective lightening rod, Bill Clinton and his staff took much of the heat, but Al Gore and his senior staff had major security problems of their own, which were mostly ignored.
Worse, Gore and Co. were fully aware of the White House wide security collapse, and did nothing to prevent it, even when they were warned that it was happening. A former Senator Gore should have been more concerned about it, but there is no evidence of concern, if he had any. Gore has done nothing but defend Bill Clinton, regardless of the impact on the nation.
Further, it was Al Goreís Reinvention of Government initiative that first publicly complained about the previous security system, which had been an effective screening tool in place for more than 30 years. Gore and his people deemed it too complicated, too expensive, and too intrusive to the applicants wanting to work for the federal government. So, they ordered agencies to privatize much of this important work, turning to outside contractors in many cases.
As a result, career national security professionals - like me - left in droves, having had our responsibilities taken away, our jobs downgraded, or our positions eliminated altogether.
Today, we see the "benefits" of Goreís "improvements." For example, almost one million background investigations backed up at the Department of Defense, as a direct result of Goreís "Reinvention" schemes. Gore constantly uses the term "risky" to define the plans of others, but my former associates tell me that identical problems exist in every important national security agency, or system. In other words, Gore and Co. took an effective security protection system and helped break it, but if "Reinvention" came with serious risk, it appears that Gore will be the last to admit it.
Instead, mainstream media focuses on administration-generated sound bites about personnel reductions and budget cuts. The truth is, if Bill Clinton robbed the national security bank, Al Gore drove the getaway car.
The security personnel theyíve cut and the money theyíve saved to make themselves look better will form the basis of a gigantic "bill" that will be presented to the next president - unless, of course that president is named Al Gore.
In the event Gore takes over where Bill Clinton has left off, you can be sure that he will do nothing to reveal his role in the greatest national security calamity since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With an Al Gore Administration, expect the worst - unless of course you share Al Goreís one-world view.
On the other hand, itís quite appropriate to acknowledge the obvious: There is no Republican administration in modern times - if ever - that failed to make national security a centerpiece of their time in office. Does this mean that a Bush Administration would do a better job of protecting our nationís security? Will you need to use one of your "life-lines" to answer this simple question?
For me - a security professional who worked in both a Republican and Democratic White House - there can be no hesitation. When it comes to national security, the Democrats that Iíve worked with just donít seem to "get it." Why?
In my opinion it doesnít matter much why they tossed out national security. If you canít prove they crashed the system for treasonous reasons, then what matters now is what we can do to protect what we have left.
And, along with real protection of national security at the White House, the obvious by-product will be a relatively scandal-free White House. I think weíre all ready for that.