Texas secession petitions and those cropping up in other states have sparked intense debate on the internet — with half respondents seemingly supportive of the idea that states secede in protest of President Obama’s re-election, and the other half finding the idea repugnant, unpatriotic and insulting considering the impact of the Civil War — and now the Department of Defense Defense Security Service has been forced to address the issue of secession petitions.
The Texas secession petition and its brethren have been widely embraced by a certain segment of the electorate — and the DSS says that rumors have been circulating that publicly signing such a petition could affect security clearances.
On Friday, an update was posted to the United States Department of Defense Defense Security Service website concerning whether having signed a secession petition is necessarily deemed a security threat in and of itself.
And while many dissenters of the dissent counter-petitioned for those who signed secession petitions to be deported or forfeit their citizenship, no one actually believed any serious consequences would result — at least not any more than anyone believed that the Texas secession petition would amount to anything besides internet bellyaching.
However. It turns out that the DSS has looked into the rumors that such an act could interfere with federal security clearances — and the notice posted indicates that while it’s by no means a definite, the agency is still deciding how signing a secession petition should affect clearances.
In the post, the DSS starts by saying that the rumors are not, as of now, true:
“DSS personnel have recently received questions from security personnel at cleared contractors about whether contractors should file adverse information reports pursuant to NISPOM paragraph 1-302 regarding cleared persons who sign petitions to allow a state to withdraw or secede from the United States … It also appears that erroneous statements have been made to the effect that DSS is directing contractors to treat the signing of such petitions as reportable adverse information.”
The post continues, with the following portion highlighted by the DSS:
“Please note that DSS has not provided any approved direction or guidance. DSS is not directing any contractor to file adverse information reports regarding persons who have signed secession or withdrawal petitions.”
However, the agency is careful not to rule out the possibility of future sanction for those who have publicly advocated secession or signed a document like the Texas secession petition.
“This issue is under review and DSS will provide information to contractors when that review is complete.”
The fact that this is even an issue is likely to enrage some supporters who will almost inevitably cite the First Amendment as grounds to not be sanctioned by the government for speech — however, it also strongly stands to reason that stated intention to secede can be reasonably construed as a threat to national security.
Moreover, certain wording in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — part of the Reconstruction Amendments — seems to suggest the permissibility of similar sanctions in reference to secession. And we shouldn’t forget that all sorts of information is considered in the decision to grant or decline such privileges.
Do you think it is reasonable to suggest citizens who signed a secession petition pose a risk to security or should be denied clearances?