Director of Naval Intelligence has his Security Clearance Suspended
Due to an ongoing investigation conducted by the Department of Justice and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the current Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Admiral Ted Branch, has had his security clearance suspended for the past 9 months. According to information in an article posted recently on Federal News Radio, Branch is part of an investigation into the bribery scandal involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia which has thus far resulted in charges against the company owner, three Navy officers, one retired officer and one NCIS agent.
Vice Admiral Branch assumed his duties 13 months ago, but the investigation into his activities that occurred before he took over in his current position. According to the article, Branch’s deputy is currently handling all duties that involve classified information. This situation is pretty big news considering that this is a high ranking naval officer whose primary duty is to oversee naval intelligence operations. Perhaps this is a trickle-down effect of all the intense scrutiny on security clearance processes and previous instances of agencies ignoring clear red flags in the Snowden and Alexis cases.
I believe all agencies, to include those in Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, have realized that actions have to be taken regarding conduct may have been previously overlooked or ignored . It will be interesting to see if statistics show an increase in clearance suspensions reported to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the next year or two. At least for now it seems that no matter the sensitivity of the individual’s rank or position, agencies are taking no chances with allowing access to classified information if concerns exist.