NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday said he is applying for federal security clearance, following the revelation that he was the first mayor in 20 years without it.
De Blasio said Friday that he and members of his inner circle at City Hall applied for the clearance “recently.”
Reports surfaced this week that de Blasio had not yet sought the needed clearance to be given certain classified security information.
De Blasio’s staff downplayed the matter, saying the mayor could receive a waiver to view the classified material in an emergency situation. But others have said it was important.
“This is not something that’s nice to have, or I’ll get to it down the road somewhere. It’s essential,” Edmund Hartnett with Brosnan Risk Consultants told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello earlier this week.
Hartnett, a security expert, held a security clearance as commissioner of Yonkers police. He says while de Blasio is briefed by police officials with clearance, it’s not the ideal.
“It puts the people with clearance in somewhat of a difficult situation,” Hartnett said. “They are mandated by law, by statute; they cannot divulge this information. Now, they have something critical they have to pass on to their boss and they have to kind of dance a dance that’s made unnecessary if the mayor has clearance.”
As Aiello reported, five million Americans have some level of security clearance, including many thousands working in local law enforcement. But when it comes to local elected officials—not so much.
The FBI recently denied security clearance to the mayor of Portland, Oregon, saying “access to classified material is necessarily controlled…it is not common practice to provide security clearance for local elected officials.”
In the 1980s, de Blasio supported the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and violated the travel ban by honeymooning in Cuba—which are topics sure to come up during the security clearance process, Aiello reported.
Police commissioner William Bratton does have the clearance.
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