Federal prosecutors, the district court judge and a number of others are asking how Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Scott Allan Bennett was able to obtain a top-secret clearance and work as a defense contractor, despite a 2008 misdemeanor conviction for lying to government officials, the Tampa Bay Online reports.
The story unfolds like something from a television crime drama….or an issue of the Onion satirical newspaper. Over the past five years Bennett has repeatedly lied to government officials, bluffed his way into meetings, offices, and in his current conviction, housing at MacDill Air Force Base.
An Army Reserve spokesman stated that Bennett’s TS/SCI clearance was obtained four months prior to his entrance into the 11th Psychological Operations Battalion (a somewhat fitting occupation for a man of Bennett’s persuasion). Almost everyone seems to agree that regardless of how it happened, allowing such a person access to sensitive information is risky for a number of reasons.
ClearanceJobs managing director Evan Lesser, quoted in the Tampa Bay Online, says that government agencies need to investigate how Bennett got his clearance, what information he had access to and what he may have done with that information.
“It seems really difficult to believe that he did not have red flags from past behavior,” Lesser said. “Should somebody be concerned about this person? I would say most definitely. He had high level clearance and access to a fair amount of classified information at a very high level. It seems like somebody dropped the ball on this particular person.”