Since the news broke last night that the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States had talked with the Russians before he had any authority or right to do so, I have been getting more and more irate. This man was a three-star General Officer in the Army. He knew better. A 7th-grade civics student knows better.
Presumably he had had numerous briefings and trainings on proper handling of classified material, including who was allowed to be anywhere around it.
Additionally, photos and reports of the POTUS dining with a foreign head of state, as he is reading or being briefed on a potential international incident (North Korea’s missile test) is absolutely anathema to me. The most cursory knowledge of classified material would place documents related to this incident under seal.
When I worked as a secretary to various officers in the Air Force, I held a Secret clearance. I had extensive training and many reminders of what was classified, and how that material should be handled. One of the officers I worked for was in Plans. He, occasionally, would get a phone call from the Command Center asking him to come pick up a document. When he got back, I would have to leave the office and wait in the hall while he opened the envelope, just in case it was classified higher than Secret, not that I would have been in any position to see anything on the other side of the room. I was not invited back in until the document, whatever it was, was locked in the safe. When I worked for the Director of Operations I handled all his general correspondence, but he had an administrative aide who would go with him to the Command Center to deal with any classified correspondence.
Big Al started his career as an officer in Intelligence. He left the field after about 10 years because of the stress of keeping classified information to himself. He would be at work and read classified briefing books about something that was going on somewhere in the world, and then when he came home he would see the same incident reported on the news, but he couldn’t talk about the news on the television, because he had first read about it in a classified publication. It put a real strain on our marriage, because there was so little he could talk about.
I knew I would have been hung up by my thumbs if I had ever repeated or talked about ANYTHING classified in public – even if the person or people I was talking to had equal or higher clearances to my own. I just never talked about anything from work, ever.
And the photos of POTUS sitting in a public restaurant getting dispatches, and information about potentially sensitive international situations make my blood boil. This is on beyond incompetence, and bordering on treason.