July 17th, 2009
03:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford security clearance suspended by DHS employee

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 Gov. Mark Sanford's security clearance was erroneously suspended by a DHS employee.
Gov. Mark Sanford's security clearance was erroneously suspended by a DHS employee.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's federal security clearance was wrongly suspended by a Department of Homeland Security employee in the days following the governor's admission of an extramarital affair, department officials confirmed Friday.

Sanford's security privileges were suspended on Wednesday, July 1, according to DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Sean Smith. Smith would not identify the employee who suspended Sanford's security clearance, or say why the action was taken.

But the suspension came just one week after the governor emerged from a mysterious absence and revealed his relationship with an Argentine woman.

The employee sent a letter to Sanford notifying him of the suspension, but Sanford likely did not receive the letter until Monday, July 6, the end of the long holiday weekend, Smith said. On that same day, Sanford met in Charleston with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a pre-scheduled meeting focused on port security.

The following day - July 7 - senior DHS officials learned that Sanford's status had been suspended and immediately moved to restore it, the DHS said.

DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban said the employee who suspended Sanford's security clearance "acted on their own volition."

"That employee did not follow the proper procedures or check with their supervisor about issuing the suspension," Kuban said. "The same day that senior DHS officials learned of the suspension, it was immediately reversed and the clearance was reinstated."

A Homeland Security official wrote to Sanford on July 7 to inform him that his security clearance had been restored.

"The suspension of your clearance was made in error," DHS Personnel Security Division chief Katherine Janosek wrote in the letter to Sanford, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

DHS officials declined to say what if any action had been taken against the employee.

Sanford's office said Friday that none of the governor's official duties - including his tour of the security project in Charleston - were affected by the security snafu.


Filed under: DHS • Mark Sanford
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    It looks like this DHS worker and the Ohio Income Tax supervisor have something in common. Right "Joe the Plumber? Could they be democrats who are big Obama fans?

    July 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Maybe he and Ensign should BOTH have their clearances revoked, not just suspended.

    Their actions have not been above-board and I believe other people would have lost their clearances altogether.

    Different treatment for white men?

    July 17, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Active Duty Democrat

    His career should be suspended...well actually his bid for pres if he were to make one...thats good enough for me...

    July 17, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. kyle from ohio

    It should have been suspended on purpose and the Goverment of the USA at least the DHS should have questions, this Governer going to another county crying to a Newspaper report (girl-friend) and as far as we know she could work for her goverment extracting information from crybaby SANFORD

    July 17, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. puzzled

    Considering how Gov. Sanford makes secret trips to foreign countries and puts himself into situations that could compromise him, it seems reasonable that his security clearance would be revoked.

    July 17, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Ren from Baltimore

    Reasons for having one's national security clearance suspended include, but are not limited to:

    – Being in a compromising predicatment which would make one subject to possible blackmail, thus jeopardizing the "secure" information which the clearance warrants.

    This is not a frivolous matter, but touches on gambling problems, other money problems, family or relationship problems, criminal problems (even by association).

    – Being of an unsound mind to the extent that one is not fully responsible for your actions and/or your actions otherwise jeopardize your position, those around you, and the ordinary citizen.

    Again, nothing frivolous is intended. Such behaviors as unexplained, lengthy disappearances, irrational responses and actions, for example, would call into play a psychiatric assessment as to one's ability to funciton independently. A family member, co-worker, or other interested party could initiate such action with demonstrable cause.

    Gov. Sanford's behaviors certainly should raise red flags in terms of the viability of his having access to critical national and state information. Nothing frivolous about that DHS employee's actions at all.

    July 17, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. mike in VA

    good to see our government is running so efficient!

    July 17, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I guess that DHS employee is taking it upon himself to remove Sanford from office. This is step one. Next they'll take away his passport.

    July 17, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Frank

    Talk about closing the barn door after the horse is out!

    July 17, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Karl in Charleston,SC

    That DHS employee should be terminated!

    July 17, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. DUNCAN

    HOUND DOG SANDERS

    You aint nothin but a hound dog
    Cryin all the time.
    You aint nothin but a hound dog
    Cryin all the time.
    Well, you aint never caught a rabbit
    And you aint no friend of mine.

    When they said you was high classed,
    Well, that was just a lie.
    When they said you was high classed,
    Well, that was just a lie.
    You aint never caught a rabbit
    And you aint no friend of mine.

    …..that hang dog look and all the tears……..

    July 17, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. cary

    Why is this man not on trial right now?

    Why is he still in office?

    Why isn't C-Street being investigated?

    July 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. F-Dog

    Wrongly?

    July 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    The security clearance should have been rovoked for "moral turpitude" as it would be for anyone else in a similar situation. He lied, he concealed and he cheated that makes him a security risk. Of course, he's a christian (small c), southern old white guy Republican so that makes it all OK. god (also small g) already forgave him so why not the Dept of Homeland Security?

    July 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    This is SOP. You can lose your security clearance for many reasons, including the activities that Governor Sanford participated in. If Governor Spitzer had a clearance, his should have been revoked as well. If you put yourself in a compromising positions, you put the country in a compromising position.

    July 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. yuri

    Let's suspend his security previleges completely, so he can go gallivantin' for more gal pals.

    July 17, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Proud American

    Why should the entire country be forced to trust someone who's own family don't?

    July 17, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. laura

    Anyone not a governor would have had their clearance pulled right away for having an unreported close relationship with a foreign national. Why should this guy be any different? The DHS employee did the right thing.

    July 17, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Len in Washington

    Pardon Me?
    He:
    Lied to his wife
    Lied to his children
    Lied to his staff
    Lied to his State Legislators
    Lied to local and national media
    and.....
    still gets a security clearance???????

    July 17, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. Ain't life strange?

    It appears a part of our nation feels an elected official fooling around on his wife is an offense against the nation. Let's strip him of his security clearance, put him on trial, throw him in prison, put him againts the wall and let a firing squad have their way with him! Geeze! The guy commited adultry, not sold top secret info to our enemies. The only ones who lost anything from all of this is his family... and they should be the only ones who say what punishment he deserves. People need to stop thinking all politicians should be as pure as the driven snow because no one is... not you, not me, not the christian right. If we were we wouldn't be on here spewing a bunch of hateful crap.

    July 17, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. Brian

    I am a retired naval officer still working for the government with a security clearance. A clearance is a privilege with certain REQUIRED responsibilities, including notifying your security officer of any travel plans to foreign countries and personal relationships with non- U.S. citizens. Gov Sanford failed to do this. His clearance SHOULD BE revoked.

    July 17, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. amy p

    This guy has gone AWOL from his state on multiple occasions, even out of the country, at tax payers' expense. He has no future political career, and as long as he is IN office, he is hurting the GOP in a big, big way.

    Why isn't his leaving the country while he was AWOL not being investigated further? What security issues could he potentially put his state or our country at risk with?

    July 17, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Alex in Wisconsin

    Well back in the old days, high profile officials leaving the country for days for a rendezvous with a foreigner was automatically investigated for the possibility of espionage. If Homeland security no longer temporarily suspends security clearances on purpose for such instances, the country is in danger and the Republicans who believe in strong national security need to speak out.

    July 17, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. m smith

    Hey another of the C street gang bites the dust. The party of immoral conduct. No wonder they lost the last election . They where all to busy screwing around to pay any attention. So much for God and family. Looks like the south is haveing way to much fun. Hum? Wonder whos money is financing all this stuff??

    July 17, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. demwit

    Nope..., no politics there.

    July 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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