Security Clearances Proposed for Some House Members

04.03.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Members of the House of Representatives who serve on the Intelligence Committee or the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee should be required to obtain security clearances as a condition of the service, said Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), who introduced legislation to that end last week.

“These two Committees have access to the most closely guarded secrets our nation possesses,” Rep. Buyer said in March 30 testimony before the House Rules Committee.

“These Committees are positions of the highest level of trust. I do not believe that asking Members to obtain a clearance in exchange for the privilege of serving on these Committees is too much to ask to show the American people that we take this trust seriously,” he said.

He cited the case of Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA), a member of both committees who was recently convicted of accepting bribes and other offenses, as a justification for the move.

Under Rep. Buyer’s surprising proposal, merely getting elected to Congress would become subordinate to the vagaries of the security clearance process. And since Congress does not have its own security vetting function, the Buyer proposal would effectively transfer to the executive branch the power to approve or deny membership on the intelligence or defense appropriations committees.

See “Buyer Pushes Higher Standards for Members,” news release, March 30.