Wounded swamp creatures.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 8/24/18


About six months after I left WFAA Radio in Dallas I had occasion to be back in the building. Frances, the switchboard operator and receptionist, greeted me with a warm smile. Frances and I knew each other well after my six years working there and we liked each other.

But even though I knew exactly where to go inside the building to keep my appointment, Frances made me wait in the lobby. I no longer had free access. Nor was I privy to the revenue reports that I at one time received weekly. That’s what happens when you leave an organization’s employ.

That is unless you are high on the food chain among the swamp creatures of Washington, D.C. A case in point involves former CIA director under President Obama John Brennan. Among the things we have learned since Donald Trump was elected is that it has been the custom that guys like John Brennan keep their security clearances after they leave their posts.

The reason given for keeping former top intelligence officers “in the loop” is that it aids in ‘institutional memory.” As the thinking goes, it allows current officials to call up and say, “Hey John, what about such & such?” Such is the officialjustification.

In reality it’s an exercise in swamp creatures taking care of swamp creatures. One of the real perks — in fact by far the most important perk — of a high-level appointive office in the federal government is the opportunity to cash in on it once you leave the post.

Cable TV news channels have a voracious appetite for the “expertise” of former high-ranking government officials. There is also a lot of money to be made on the rubber-chicken speaking circuit.

In this quasi “industry,” a security clearance is a particularly valuable credential. Someone with a security clearance can be promoted on TV as a true expert on matters of foreign affairs and intelligence. And a former high-ranking official with a security clearance and a demonstrated willingness to bash a sitting administration is pure gold to a cable TV channel with an axe to grind. (Read: MSNBC.)

Thus, we have been treated for two years to John Brennan accusing Donald Trump of treasonous behavior while simultaneously continuing as an apologist for the manifest failures of the administration John Brennan served.

The fact is, there is no real justification for continuing to allow retired intelligence officers to retain their clearances. The practice was started for self-serving and cynical reasons.

WFAA didn’t need me out on the street with insider information telling the world what it was doing wrong. The country will be better served if John Brennan is treated the same way any company would treat any departing employee.

John Brennan’s temper tantrum at having been relieved of his security clearance by a president who is justifiably tired of Brennan’s crap is a prime example of the very kind of swamp-dweller behavior that Donald Trump was elected to fix.

Keep draining, Mr. President.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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11 Responses

  1. Buddy Saunders says:

    The thing John Brennan deserves the most is a swift boot to the posterior. More swamp dwellers are crawling from under the rocks daily, revealing themselves for the losers they are. Good column about a truly bad guy.

  2. Mark J Mueller says:

    You hit it on the “head” again. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. Jim Lee says:

    Well put my friend. Keep up the good work.

  4. Richard Anderson says:

    Excellent column Mr. Gleiser. In my humble opinion, I believe that the vast majority of the American people concur — that indeed President Trump is right on course and on schedule in draining the swamp with dispatch and wholeheartedly approve!

  5. Clifton Mire says:

    President Trump was correct to remove Brennan’s security clearance and the same should be done for the rest of the Obama hold cronies. I believe an Admiral said “If you are going to take away Brennan’s SC take mine as well”. The President should have said “Done, anyone else want to be a smart ass”. No one would have treated or did treat Obama the way President Trump is being treated and we all know why.

  6. Holland Cooke says:

    And if those-still-at WFAA had asked your advice on a pending matter, it wouldn’t have been of value?

    And subsequent to your employ there, you’ve never profited from the context and perspective of that experience?

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      You’re kidding with this question, right?

      I would like to think that my opinion would have been of value. And if WFAA wanted my advice on some matter and if the giving of that advice required that I be provided with some inside information, WFAA would have had the discretion at that time to fill me in. But they, like any employer, would have retained that discretion. They would never grant blanket access to insider information to a former employee.

      And of course I profited from my years of experience at WFAA. But I never profited from inside information to which I had access subsequent to the termination of my employment. And they surely would not have tolerated me, armed with proprietary information, running around telling the world what they were doing wrong.

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