The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of posting highly classified documents on social media should never have received a top-secret security clearance — or any security clearance, for that matter — based on his terrible background (“Air Force looks to better control access to classified data after intelligence leak,” web, May 22).

Airman Jack Teixeira discussed violence, murder and the use of an “assassination van” on social media. He also looked up mass shootings and government standoffs on his government computer. He was suspended from high school for discussing the use of Molotov cocktails and other weapons and making racially charged threats.

Why didn’t an FBI background check, which is required for high-level security clearances, expose his past and disqualify him for the clearance?

My wife and I held top-secret security clearances back in the 1960s, and our backgrounds were thoroughly checked by the FBI. Neighbors, former classmates, teachers and employers were interviewed before we received our clearances.

When I was on a U.S. Navy staff in the 1960s, we had a top-secret control officer responsible for managing all top-secret documents. We need a federal office responsible for the oversight of the dissemination of national security documents. We must also tighten the system for obtaining security clearances — and disseminate classified information on a need-to-know basis only. 


Londonderry, New Hampshire

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