- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2001


Do ask, do tell

Inside the Beltway has obtained controversial new State Department procedures concerning sexual orientation and behavior and security-clearance background investigations, actually ordered by President Clinton and forwarded to all U.S. Foreign Service employees in recent days.

"Some of the questions are extremely personal," a State Department memo warns of the new guidelines, which were issued by the department´s Bureau of Diplomatic Security in compliance with Mr. Clinton´s Executive Order 12968. "The information gathered during a background investigation is designed to ensure that all persons with access to national-security information are reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States

"Employees holding clearances are required to cooperate with the investigator," the memo states, adding: "The fourth factor, sexual behavior, is probably one of the areas of inquiry that will make subjects (as well as the background investigator) most uncomfortable."

According to the "enhanced" guidelines, sexual behavior is a security factor if it involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, subjects the individual to undue influence or coercion, or reflects lack of judgment or discretion.

"Sexual orientation, in and of itself, may not be used as a disqualifying factor in determining a person´s eligibility for a security clearance," the memo stresses. " is concerned about potentially exploitable sexual behavior, not orientation. Thus, employees who engage in sexual relationships that they attempt to conceal run the risk of affecting their security clearance."

The department explains that "candor about any potentially exploitable behavior makes an employee less susceptible to coercion and, therefore, less likely to have any adverse action taken by against his or her security clearance."


Go figure

Longtime Washington congressional correspondent Jim Burns, of late with cnsnews.com, tells Inside the Beltway he attended Wednesday evening´s reception at the Cato Institute for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"I thought the funny thing about it was as you went into the building there was a sign on the lawn saying: 'KEEP OFF THE GRASS.´"


Motley crew

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will be rockin´ on the Potomac River in Washington Sunday with rocker Rick Monroe, who toured with Motley Crue.

The Nobel Peace laureate is in Washington this weekend to head fund-raising efforts for the Raisa Gorbachev Memorial Fund for Leukemia Research and Treatment for children, established in honor of Mr. Gorbachev´s late wife. Mr. Gorbachev also will attend a formal dinner, "The 2001 U.S.-Russian Presidential Gala," at the Russian Embassy Saturday night.

But the real fun starts Sunday aboard the USS Sequoia, the former presidential yacht, when Mr. Gorbachev will be treated to the singing and songwriting talents of the Los Angeles-based Mr. Monroe, who´s been touring of late in Vietnam. On July Fourth in Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, he performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" for his Vietnamese and American audience.

He´s also performed recently in Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia and Croatia.


Mediapolitik

If you don´t think your favorite newspaper columnist or television anchor influences and shape world affairs, think again.

Drawing upon his lifelong study of politics and journalism, political historian Lee Edwards has just published what the Catholic University of America Press calls the first scholarly examination of a powerful new phenomenon in world politics the mass media.

"Edwards argues that the media have become as important a factor in determining the course of international affairs and the future of nations as economic prosperity, military strength, natural resources, and national will," the publishing house says of "Mediapolitik: How the Mass Media Have Transformed World Politics."

A senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and adjunct associate professor of politics at Catholic University, Mr. Edwards employs case studies to show how the media have influenced and even "determined" the outcomes of major political acts.


Wrong money

"Since I became Treasury secretary, I´ve found it is so easy to get a reservation at the great restaurants in New York. I just call the maitre d´ and say this is Paul O´Neill and I would like to have a table for four at 8 o´clock. The maitre d´ says, 'That will be fine, Mr. O´Neill. Is there any chance Derek Jeter or Roger Clemens will be joining you?´"

Treasury Secretary Paul O´Neill, referring to New York Yankees outfielder Paul O´Neill during an address at the Economic Club of New York yesterday.

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