Congressman Panetta Introduces Legislation to Protect the Security Clearance of the Special Counsel
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the Special Counsel Security Assurance Act to limit the President’s ability to interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The legislation requires independent judicial approval of any decision to revoke the security clearance of a special counsel. Moreover, any revocation must be for cause and consistent with U.S. national security interests. Currently, the Office of the President claims the authority to revoke an individual’s security clearance for any reason at any time.
"The President’s words and actions indicate a desire to constrain the Special Counsel investigation. He articulated a direct connection between the investigation and the previous revocation, and threatened revocation, of former government officials’ security clearances. Presently, there is little authority to prevent the President from revoking the security clearances of Special Counsel Mueller or his investigative team. Revoking their clearances could obstruct and would impede the investigation," said Congressman Panetta. "The special counsel investigation is paramount to finding the truth and must not be hindered. This legislation ensures the Special Counsel can continue its thorough investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”
The Special Counsel Security Assurance Act requires the security clearance of a special counsel may be revoked only if:
- The Attorney General files an action in federal district court in Washington, D.C., and files a simultaneous notice with the House of Representatives and Senate; and
- A panel of three judges issues an order finding the revocation was for cause and consistent with interests of national security.