New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio finally has received security clearance, the New York Post reported.
We wrote earlier this year about de Blasio not having access to important information regarding potential terror threats, as well as why local officials often need security clearance to perform their duties.
The fact that de Blasio lacked this access raised eyebrows in political and law enforcement circles last year, according to the NY Post. But the mayor insisted he received “all the information he needed” prior to obtaining his security clearance.
De Blasio needs access to classified information because there have been 16 known terrorist plots against New York City since September 11, 2001, according to the City of New York Police Department.
That’s why many people found it interesting to learn that he hadn’t even applied for clearance after being elected mayor.
“This is mind-boggling,” a NY Post reporter wrote in September 2014. “The top official of the city that suffered the nation’s worst terror attack ever and remains the No. 1 target of jihadists is, by law, out of the loop on classified intelligence and many counterterrorism measures.”
No official reason ever was provided regarding why de Blasio failed to obtain clearance before now. But the NY Post covered the issue extensively in 2014. In one article, the paper revealed that de Blasio and his wife traveled illegally to Cuba in 1994 for their honeymoon. Here’s what the paper reported last year:
It was illegal for Americans to make private visits to the Communist nation then without Washington’s permission, so de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray went first to Canada, then to Fidel Castro’s island prison. We know this because de Blasio’s daughter said during last year’s campaign that her parents had hidden the trip from their children, but that she had just learned about it.
De Blasio’s Cuba trip also raised questions surrounding his appointment in 1997 as the regional director of HUD, the federal housing agency. To get that job, he had to answer detailed personal questions aimed at uncovering any facts that might have labeled him a security risk, or unfit for public trust, the NY Post reported. One of those questions addressed foreign countries he visited within the past seven years. It is unknown whether he ever released those HUD forms to confirm whether he admitted to the trip back then.
Taking the trip, as well as his willingness to disclose the trip later, are significant to the security clearance application process, said security clearance lawyer Catie Young.
The government wants to know about foreign travel because applicants must be investigated to determine whether they have foreign influences and preferences prior to granting them access to information that could be harmful if in the hands of foreign countries.
“Traveling to a foreign country doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for clearance,” Young said. “But that travel needs to be reported on a security clearance application so it can be researched.”
If you’re seeking security clearance, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in security clearance law, particularly if there are activities in your past such as de Blasio’s trip to Cuba.
“You need expert advice on how to provide the information and the mitigating circumstances surrounding it so you can adequately demonstrate to the government that you are trustworthy and capable of handling sensitive information responsibly,” Young said.
Please call our office to schedule a consultation if you are going through the security clearance process and want to help ensure you navigate the process successfully.