Background; elected officials considered "vetted" by election and receive no formal background check before receiving sensitive/secret information
Politico's January 5, 2023 Speaker debacle puts U.S. security 'at risk,' GOP lawmakers warn (pre-speaker selection) includes the following:
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said he and fellow Armed Services member Don Bacon (R-Neb.) were scheduled to meet with Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley in secure House facilities on Wednesday to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific region, but were barred from doing so.
“I’m informed by House security that, technically, I don’t have a clearance,” Gallagher told reporters. “I’m a member of the Intel Committee, I’m on the Armed Services Committee, and I can’t meet in the SCIF to conduct essential business.
“My point is we have work to do that we can’t do right now,” he added.
Lawmakers aren’t required to obtain security clearances, but are permitted access to sensitive information through their positions.
“The secure facility that we work in every day when we’re here, we can’t go in there right now,” Wenstrup said. “We would get daily briefs. We’re in there all the time. And right now, we can’t be in there at all.”
- this answer to Is the US President empowered to unilaterally revoke security clearance of sitting members of congress? "Members of Congress do not receive a clearance, because they are considered "vetted" by virtue of being elected to their position."
- this answer to Do elected officials need to pass background checks to obtain security clearances? "According to Sterling, a company that deems itself "the global leader in background and identity services"... 'However, there is not a specified background screening program for politicians. During every election cycle, candidates from all parties and walks of life have been caught hiding embarrassing information from the voters.'"
This new (for me) information leads me to wonder just how much they can access if they really want it.
So we can conclude that a politician, even a relatively junior one, through political means of any sort, can potentially get on the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee or even become its Chairman, and then with no other vetting than what's done by the press and opposition research1, gain access to sensitive or perhaps secret information.
Question: Who limits what sensitive/secret information is shared with the US House Armed Services Committee? In the name of "oversight" could a member get whatever they want if they push hard enough?
1example of the inexactness and perhaps inadequacy of vetting by only the press and opposition research: December 28, 2022 cbc.ca A newly elected Republican congressman lied about his life story. Now he's facing real trouble