Between Marjorie Taylor Greene & George Santos, is it Time to Rethink Security Clearance Rules?

Joy D'Angelo
8 min readFeb 7, 2023
Marjorie Taylor Greene & George Santos on either side of a gate saying “Danger Keep Out” with the NSA Seal below it.
Marjorie Taylor Greene & George Santos, (Photos: MTG, Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0, Danger Sign, Elliott Brown CC BY 2.0) NSA Seal & GS— Public Domain)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican Congressperson from Georgia has been appointed by the new Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, to sit on the Congressional Select Committee for Homeland Security. Now, there are many articles one can read regarding the debacle it took for him to get the Speakership. All that’s pertinent here is knowing that he had to make a lot of promises to people like Greene to get it — which is why she’s on that committee.

As an average American looking at this, the question that popped for me was this: “Wouldn’t she first need to pass some kind of security clearance test?” After some internet scrounging, a report from the CBS affiliate in Washington D.C. — WUSA9 — was able to answer the question. The answer is, “no.”

The Rules Around National Security Clearances

According to a 2016 Service Report, security clearances are required for anyone who works for the government in any capacity — except for the following: “president, vice president, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, or other constitutional officers.”

Okay, then, how about a basic background check? Is any of the above ever subjected to that? Well, there is something called a suitability review that anyone working for a federal agency has to go through.

“A suitability investigation is an inquiry into a person’s identifiable character traits and conduct sufficient to decide whether an individual’s employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service.”

Some of the things on the list checked in a suitability review are:
(1) Misconduct or negligence in employment;

(2) Criminal or dishonest conduct;

(3) Material, intentional false statement, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment;

(7) Knowing and willful engagement in acts or activities designed to overthrow the U.S. Government by force;

Judging from this list, Greene would never pass a suitability review — never mind a security clearance check…

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