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Grassley Seeks Explanation for Why Top Naval Intelligence Official Remains at Post Without Required Security Clearances

February 23, 2016
Offcie of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley - R-Iowa) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

WASHINGTON Sen. Chuck Grassley today asked Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to explain why the Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Admiral Ted N. Branch, remains at his post even though he has not possessed the required security clearances for more than two years. The military leadership reportedly pulled Branch's security clearance over a corruption investigation but allowed him to stay in his position during the investigation.

"I do not understand how Admiral Branch can still occupy such a sensitive position with no security clearance," Grassley wrote to Carter. "Under normal circumstances, large quantities of highly classified information routinely flows into and around the office of the Director of Naval Intelligence. Without the proper clearances, how could Admiral Branch possibly perform the duties and responsibilities of that office? Having the appropriate clearances should be a requirement for being the Director of Naval Intelligence. As long as he sits at the Director's desk, inadvertent and unauthorized access to classified information could occur."

Grassley noted that one of the Defense Department entities involved is "notoriously slow in resolving such matters," so "Branch's clearance is not apt to be restored anytime soon."

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Grassley continued, "For these reasons, I would appreciate having a full explanation as to why Admiral Branch is being allowed to remain in this very important and sensitive post. Common sense tells me that the decision to leave a senior admiral, who was stripped of his clearances, in charge of Naval Intelligence operations in the midst of the global war on terror needs top-level scrutiny now."

Grassley asked for a response by March 7. The text of his letter is available here.



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