The Corner

Are They McCarthyites in the Obama Administration, Too?

The editors are spot on this morning in debunking the ludicrous effort of leading Democrats and their rabid media shock troops to portray Senator Ted Cruz as a “McCarthyite” whose tough questioning of Chuck Hagel traded on flimsy “inference and innuendo.” Cruz made much of the fact that, in connection with his nomination to be secretary of defense, Hagel refused to disclose to the committee all compensation he has received in excess of $5,000 over the last five years, the point being to probe Hagel’s connections to foreign governments and their agents — Hagel already being known to have troublesome ties to outfits like the National Iranian American Council, which is the Islamo-fascist Iranian regime’s pom-pom squad.

Question 1: If it is reprehensible “McCarthyism” and “questioning Hagel’s patriotism” for the Senate to probe these matters in connection with a nominee’s qualifications for a position that is second only to the presidency in its significance to our national security, then what are we to make of the executive branch’s use of Form 86? That is the lengthy questionnaire candidates for any governmental national security position — including positions far less consequential than defense secretary — must complete in order to be granted the security clearance required to perform such jobs.

Have a look at the form (here), and in particular at pages 59–83. It is a searching inquiry into every conceivable aspect of the candidate’s connections to and financial entanglements with foreign countries and their agents — and that’s only after similarly exacting questions earlier in the form about the candidate’s family connections to foreign countries and their agents (a topic we discussed back when Democrats, as well as some leading Republicans like Senator John McCain, were making similarly ridiculous “McCarthyism” allegations about inquiries into the Islamist connections of Huma Abedin, top adviser to former Secretary of State Cllinton).

Question 2: There is nothing in the Constitution about security clearances for national security positions. However, the Senate’s advise-and-consent function for high government officials — even those not responsible for national security — is enshrined in article II, section 2. So why would the Senate even think about confirming a patently sub-par defense-secretary nominee who refuses to provide the relevant committee with far less information than he had to have provided to the executive branch to get the security clearance needed to perform the job of defense secretary?

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