November 16, 2016

Without Trump, could Bannon get a security clearance?

Daily Beast - Donald Trump recently named Steve Bannon to be a White House chief strategist and senior counselor to the president. It’s a position that could give Bannon, the former chief of the alt-right Breitbart media outlet, access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets.

There’s just one problem: He might not be able to pass the background check.

The basic form required to get a security clearance, known as an SF86, asks about one’s arrest record, foreign contacts, association with organizations dedicated to the use of violence, and association with groups that advocate use of force to discourage individuals from exercising their constitutional rights.

All of those questions could be seriously complicated for Bannon, who’s been celebrated by American white nationalists, feted by Europe’s ultra-right, and arrested for choking his wife.

Unlike the nation’s soldiers and spies, the alt-right Breitbart ringleader will get special treatment. Bannon has an ace-in-the-hole: the backing of the president-elect of the United States, who could intervene to demand Bannon get clearance anyway. It’s a move that could come at the expense of his relationship with lawmakers, the FBI, and the intelligence community.

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