Not that long ago, I punished a Sailor for disclosing classified information. He was a pretty nice guy with a nice family. Unfortunately for him, he liked to brag, and so he bragged to more than a few people about some of the cool things he did while he was deployed. Had it been one or two innocuous items, it might have resulted in a severe a$% chewing, some signed papers and “never do this again” speech, but his material was high enough that these actions weren’t sufficient for NCIS. After busting him down a rank, he was separated from the military, and although he avoided jail time, he did have to pay back significant bonus money.
Flash forward only a year and Hillary Clinton gets away with gross violations of compartmentalized information. Not just something that is Top Secret, but items that are secured in such a fashion that maybe only hundreds or even tens of people are read-in to see it. No punishment. None. Not even a red-shirted staffer offered to appease the FBI-gods (and they like to think of themselves as gods, hence cracking down on good Catholics that don’t worship them). That case made me pause and wonder if I had booted a good Sailor by mistake.
And here we are today, with the rapid arrest of a National Guardsman for spilling what I’m guessing is the Chairman’s Daily Brief, which for anyone familiar with it, is posted daily on a website on a classified system. At other commands I’ve sent intelligence items for inclusion on that brief. It’s a pretty good daily laydown of big issues, and like most intelligence products produced by real intelligence people (i.e. not the FBI in Richmond) it should be accurate, even if that accuracy isn’t popular.
After all the leaks by political hacks and all the bad storage practices by people from both parties, I don’t know whether to care anymore. In bureaucratic fashion the Navy put out ALNAV 032/23, reminding. everyone of their responsibilities to protect classified data. I personally wouldn’t disclose anything because I care about my country. But if a young Sailor asked me today about the disparity between the “important” people in power, who get away leaking whatever information they want, and the little people, who get swiftly arrested and punished, I wouldn’t know what to say in response. How do you answer that question?
Nothing is going to change until we start protecting classified materials like they actually matter. Until that happens, its just an opinion subject to the whims of the people in power.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. To the FBI and NCIS people reading this, NO, the author doesn’t condone disclosing classified information, and has never disclosed classified information, because unlike the FBI and NCIS, the author actually cares about this country. If you’d like to get an understanding of the author’s character, why don’t you go to Amazon and purchase his book?