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Jennifer Norris, a member of the Maine National Guard, chose to be discharged from the Guard rather than answer a question on the renewal form for her security clearance: Whether or not she'd had psychological counseling over the past seven years.
The question on the form is not new. Norris had the Top Secret clearance, required for all communications technicians because they are privy to information which could do great damage to the nation if released.
In addition to completing the questionnaire for her renewal, Norris would have needed a background investigation done by the FBI to retain her clearance.
Norris says, "I just could not bear sharing that information with all those people when my husband didn't even know."
What was it she was trying to conceal from her husband? In her own words, she had been "...sexually assaulted by other members of the military."
She is now trying to get a Democratic Maine Representative to convince James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, to remove the question from the questionnaire military men and women routinely complete to obtain or retain their clearances. And the Representative is currently trying to have the question removed.
However, there are serious questions about Norris' claim. Why would she agree to go on national TV to reveal information that she "just could not bear sharing" with security people? Why would she reveal in public something she kept secret from her own husband? And why now, long after it happened?
In addition, Norris' words "all those people" make no sense in this instance. The only people who would have known about anything Norris put on her questionnaire would have been the specialist who read it and the FBI agent assigned to investigate her recent background to ensure nothing critical in her life had changed.
There are four other questions to be asked:
a. Why did she not report the attack when it occurred? Was it, in fact, an attack or something else, as an investigation would reveal?
b. When she was suddenly confronted by the need to renew her clearance, did she realize that a lie detector test would show that she had lied on it?
c. Did Norris realize too late that her husband was going to want to know why she had been discharged? Was that the reason she went public at this time?
There are some questions to be asked of NPR as well:
• Why did NPR not include any form of statement from Norris' husband?
• Why did NPR not include a statement from either Norris or the Guard regarding the nature of her discharge and the officially stated reason for it?
• Why did NPR not include a statement from the Guard regarding an investigation into Norris' claim that she had been sexually assaulted?
Next: The best question of all in an election year.
My main reason for having doubts is because of the timing.
The Maine Representative who is taking Norris' side in her argument against the security questionnaire involved is under attack for a statement of political importance, making one wonder if this is a smoke screen to divert attention from a scandal in the Representative's own backyard.
Representative Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine, is well known for making this statement: “Most Americans never have and never will fly on a chartered jet, much less a fancy corporate jet complete with wet bar and leather couches. So when members of Congress constantly fly around on corporate jets and pay only the cost of a commercial ticket, it contributes to the corrosive public perception that members of Congress are more like the fat cats of Wall Street than they are like the rest of us.”
However, Representative Pingree, it turns out, has been routinely flying on a "fancy corporate jet complete with wet bar and leather couches" unlike "the rest of us."
Would you say it is fair to suspect that the ado on the security questionnaire is a mite suspect, given the fact that the election is now less than 30 days away?
To put all this in context and show how important such questions and background checks are to national security, consider these numbers:
In 1955, along with 225 other men, I volunteered for a special program that required a Top Secret clearance. Once I signed the volunteer statement I expected to go right off to school, but I found out that because the position required a Top Secret clearance there would be a delay as our questionnaires were reviewed as part of an FBI background investigation. I never for one minute considered the possibility that any of the volunteers would be turned down, but when it came time for us to go I was astounded to discovered that 150 out of 225 men had not made the cut because they could not be cleared for Top Secret information. That may give you an idea how important the question is that the Representative is trying to change.
Does it make sense to you to ask this question of someone who is about to become privy to information of the highest possible classification?
"Have you required psychological counseling over the past seven years?"
You should understand that simply saying yes does not automatically make you ineligible for a clearance. The type of counseling and the context in which it was given is taken into consideration. Many veterans who served in Iraq, for example, are routinely passed when they answer yes because they received counseling as a result of the stress of serving there.
So? What's this really all about?
Tom: I certainly do not know what the basis of the story is. I do, however, feel strongly about the subsequent actions. Like you, I had a Top Secret clearance and like you feel that there are obligations of honesty and proper behavior that accompany the clearance. Answering that a person did have psychological counseling does not disqualify a person from having a high level of clearance. Simply, it opens the door to other questions. It could well be that the woman was afraid of being asked why she did not report improper behavior. It could be that the woman is coming from a position of weak character. I would recommend that her complaint be immediately be trashed.
Aha! I knew there was more to this than met the eye!
The NPR story portrayed Jennifer Norris as simple member of the National Guard who had fallen victim to sexual harassment and had at last revealed her dilemma to her Congressional Representative. But man! What a number they tried to do on us!!!!!!
You know who Jennifer Norris is? No? In all fairness, I just went out to see if there were any more to her story, perhaps some details that lent credence to it. What a shock I got! Go Google her and see her Linked-In profile.
This is no non-political nobody! Here are just a couple of the FACTS! She is:
a. Maine Coordinator, Military Rape Crisis Center
b. Advocacy Board Member at Protect Our Defenders
c. CCM Enumerator/Auditor at US Census Bureau
d. Economic Developer at Town of Lisbon
e. Social Worker/Administrative Assistant/Finance at Ingraham, Inc.
f. Advocate for systemic changes in the way that the US Military handles violent crime investigations and prosecutions.
g. Advocate for taking the investigation out of the Chain of Command.
h. National Victim Advocate
i. Social Worker on 774-HELP hotline; now 211 in which she is:
• Administrative Assistant in the Front Office
• Administrative Assistant at Community Outreach Services
• Accounts Payable Manager in the Finance Department
• Per Diem Employee at local Group Homes and Crisis Units
j. And has written:
• "Why I Support the STOP Act"
• "Perception is Reality: What's Really Going on at Lackland?"
She summarizes her experience as: "Municipal Government Experience, Government Financial Management, Statistics, Research, Emergency Management, Technical & Computer Skills, Marketing, Business Development, Community Development
Specialties, Government Finance, Community Planning & Development, Public Speaking, Community Building, Marketing"
Does that sound like some poor, non-political woman who was harmed while in the service and just felt she had to share her story with NPR and a Maine Congresswoman at this point in time?
Or does it sound like a politically savvy activist trying to help a friend while she advances her election campaign?
NPR, you should be ashamed for not telling the WHOLE story!
Thanks, John. I agree with you, of course. And now more than ever. Go look at the "rest of the story" that I just put up. Had I not gone out to see if I could find some details supporting the story we'd never have known how close we came to being taken.
Tom, the explanation above certainly exposes the woman as an opportunist bitch! "Advocate for systemic changes in the way that the US Military handles violent crime investigations and prosecutions." She's really out to beat on her own drum.
I would deny her any kind of secret clearance!
I have spent roughly four hours digging up every piece of information that exists on Jennifer Norris, and on her husband as well, since the two of them were involved in a case which bears a faint resemblance to what Jennifer says originally happened to her (a party where adults provided alcohol to a younger person), and that possibility had to be cleared away before I could proceed any farther.
I could lay it all out here for you, but I won't, of course. I'll only point out a couple of facts that I feel are highly relevant to the NPR article.
First of all, NPR failed to identify who Jennifer Norris was. She was just named --"Jennifer Norris"-- and only referred to as a former member of the national guard. No mention was made of the fact that she was the Coordinator for the State of Maine Military Rape Crisis Center, and a political activist highly involved in such matters.
In journalism, failing to let your reader know who is speaking is an unforgivable betrayal of trust. It is one thing if a person is a victim who is speaking of what happened to him or her; it is quite another when thing that victim is politically involved in the issue under discussion, and is in fact an activist in the area.
And then there is the timing of all this. The article leaves the timeline open, letting the reader believe that what happened to Norris is something of current concern, something that happened recently, and that the person involved is still in the early stages of getting over it, thereby playing on our natural feelings of outrage. But that is so far from the truth it is hard to believe that the story was ever printed.
The event that Jennifer Norris was speaking of, if it happened at all, which has to be questioned to some extent after so many years have passed, happened in April 1996. She served in the Guard for 9 years and 6 months afterward, and she claims that the person who assaulted her was only "the first of four perpetrators I encountered in the first two years of service to my country." Notice the term perpetrators; it very clearly implies that something illegal and improper happened four times, yet she never reported any of the assaults until after she was out of the Guard for a full 6 years and had taken her current position, and even then she only reported it on a commercial website--a full 10 months after she was in her current position at the Rape Crisis Center.
That means that the event NPR was "reporting" occurred a full 18 years before the story broke, and only then because it had to do with the election of a Maine Representative.
Those are facts, presented to you with as little emotion as possible, but if I were free to speak in ordinary street language the words would fry the screen on your computer. And I would not be speaking of Jennifer Norris, who may very well once again be the victim in all this, someone being used for political purposes.
It is NPR which is at fault here.
Another good reason to de-fund PBS and NPR.
Exactly Pat!! Good grief, all day long I have heard comments about big, bad, mean Mitt Romney wanting to "fire Big Bird". Sheesh!! Why in the world should our government be funding ANY television or radio station? If the station cannot support itself, whether through selling airtime, commercials or public donations, I guess there isn't that big a need or want for it, then, is there?
"I could lay it all out here for you, but I won't, of course."
I'd first like to explain that comment, which I made yesterday, because someone might wonder why I went to all the trouble of doing the research but never posted it. There are times when if I put up everything I came across it would be tantamount to trashing someone, and I'm not in the business of trashing people. I comb the net in a search for information that helps me understand what is going on, not to harm someone. Then too, there is always room for error in any given news report; news reports are by their nature incomplete because of space and/or time constraints. Also, it's a lot easier to say what someone should have done than to be in someone's shoes and actually do it. If you are curious to know more, I suggest you Google Jennifer Norris, read what is out there, and make up your own mind. I'd rather let the subject drop.
"Another good reason to de-fund PBS and NPR."
"I guess there isn't that big a need or want for it, then, is there?"
I was once all in favor of radio stations which were supported by public money. As a boy I used to listen to one of them almost every day--WNYC, the radio station of New York City. But it provided a genuine public service. It was not a news station; it ran children's programs, and it played classical music at a time when there was no other station that played it. No commercials and no partisan comment. Ever. It was simply a service that brought something to kids--and adults too--that could not otherwise be heard. Spotted around the nation there were several of those, and they eventually evolved into NPR and PBS, but when they did they changed; they became news sources.
Do we need that? I leave that decision entirely up to you.
I went to NPR and copied their entire daily list of programs, then went to each of the non-music and non-children items and copied what was covered, all for October 4, 2012. As you will see, most of what was programmed was news. Judge for yourself whether or not there is anything among the ones I copied which is not available elsewhere. In the "Programs" list I've marked the two programs that seemed to be for children.
Brace yourself. This will take a few posts.
The first two items in NPR, the ones on the "Topic" list are news. As for bias, that is your call:
October 5, 2012
•Tension Continues As Turkey Returns Fire Against Syria
•Candidates Tout Different Routes To 'Energy Security'
•Old Dominion May Hold Keys To White House, Senate
•Record High Prices At The Gas Pump Likely To Linger In California
•Does Your Gas Tank Hold Enough Food To Feed 22 People?
•Teenage Boy Scout Denied Organization's Top Rank Because He's Gay
•For Obama, 7.8 Could Be Lucky Number
•One Jobs Report, Two Different Political Spins
•Does Jobs Report Mean Things Are Getting Better?
•50 Years After Vatican II Transformation Continues
•It's All Politics, Oct. 4, 2012
•Botulism Outbreak Tied To Contaminated Prison Hooch
•Court Clears Way For Terror Suspect To Be Sent From U.K. To U.S.
•Labor Secretary Says Talk Of Fudged Jobless Numbers Is Insulting
•U.S. Jobless Rate Falls To 7.8 Percent
Topic: Arts & Life
•Interview: MacArthur 'Genius' Junot Diaz
•At College, A 'Pitch Perfect' Musical Comedy
•Memoirist James Wolcott Reflects On The '70s
•Pop Culture Happy Hour: Time Travel And The Right Way To Be Pushy
•NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of October 4, 2012
•Two 'Genius Grants' For Women Experimenting With Documentary Film
•Picking The Best Bond: Connery And Craig Rise To The Top
•Shake It Up, Baby: Are Martinis Made The Bond Way Better?
•Preventing Silicon Valley's 'Immigrant Exodus'
•No Contest: Everything Is Better With 'Butter'
•'Frankenweenie': Burton Revives A Morbid Favorite
•'2' Bad: Plot, Style Taken Straight From The Original
•'Oranges' Appeal: Not Your Average Suburban Holiday
•When It Comes To Drugs, A 'House' Deeply Divided
•'The Paperboy': A Crime Drama Lacking Conviction
You can judge for yourself whether or not the rest of what I copied was news. As for bias, once again that is your call. First the list of programs:
• All Songs Considered
• All Things Considered
• Ask Me Another (children)
• Fresh Air from WHYY
• From the Top
• Morning Edition
• Piano Jazz
• Talk of the Nation
• TED Radio Hour
• Tell Me More (children)
• Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
• Weekend Edition Saturday
• Weekend Edition Sunday
• World Cafe
• World of Opera
Now, each of the Programs, and what it contained:
All Things Considered
October 4, 2012
• Presidential Race: Republicans Thrilled With Romney's Debate Showing
• Presidential Race: Romney's Tax Policy Still Has Holes After Debate
• Health: Ketamine Relieves Depression By Restoring Brain Connections
• The Accountant Who Changed The World
• Politics: Michelle Obama Bests Ann Romney In Cookie Contest
• Middle East: Syria Apologizes For Turkey Strike That Leaves 5 Dead
• Africa: Egypt's State TV At A Crossroads After Mubarak
• Election 2012: Voter Registration Deadlines Begin Passing This Week
• Books: Google, Publishers Reach Deal On Book Scanning Plan
• Book Reviews: Book Review: 'The Round House'
• Politics: Step Aside, Reporters — Poets Take On The Debate
• Presidential Race: Romney Takes A Mini Victory Lap After First Debate
• Presidential Race: Obama Criticized For Not Pushing Back During Debate
• Sports: A Look At Major League Baseball's Postseason
• Health: Scientists Create Fertile Eggs From Mouse Stem Cells
• Health: Spinal Injections May Be Source Of Rare Meningitis
• Health: The Cost Of Saving Lives With Local Peanuts In Haiti
• Architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright Home Threatened In Arizona
• Asia: Pakistan Heartthrob Trades Pop For Political Protest
• Music Reviews: Iris DeMent's 'Sing The Delta' Full Of Paradoxes
Program: Fresh Air from WHYY
October 4, 2012
• Colbert: 'Re-Becoming' The Nation We Always Were
• Roving Eyes, Wandering Hands In 'How You Lose Her'
Program: Morning Edition
October 5, 2012
• Romney Campaigns In Virginia On Debate Momentum
• Wis. Crowd Welcomes Obama After Lackluster Debate
• U.S. Speedskater Admits To Sabotaging Rival's Skates
• Scientists Use Stem Cells To Create Eggs In Mice
• U.N. Troops Expected In Haiti For Another Year
• In Haiti, Aid Groups Squabble Over Rival Peanut Butter Factories
• Liam Neeson Is The Most Valuable Asset For 'Taken 2'
• Bacon Shortage Is Hogwash
• Preventing Silicon Valley's 'Immigrant Exodus'
• Mystery Solved: Why Was Some French Honey Green?
• September's 7.8 Jobless Rate A Boost For Obama
• Romney, Obama Far Apart On Closing Budget Gap
• U.S. Hopes U.N. Rebuke Will Deter Syrian Regime
• For Special Education Teacher, 'Every Day Is Precious'
• Venezuelans In Fla. Face 900-Mile Trip To Vote
• Not Everyone In Spain Eager To Wager On EuroVegas
• No One Trusts China's Unemployment Rate
• Shake It Up, Baby: Are Martinis Made The Bond Way Better?
• Picking The Best Bond: Connery And Craig Rise To The Top
• Bond Movies And Their Memorable Theme Songs
• Guards Chastised For Showing Inmates Prison Flick
• Dubai To Build Replica Of Taj Mahal
Program: Talk of the Nation
October 4, 2012
• Genius Grant Helps Junot Diaz Focus On His Art
• What Obama And Romney Left Out In First Debate
• Chef Jose Garces Follows His 'Latin Road Home'
• How To Help Kids Handle Death And Grieving
• Oxford Taps Crowds To Learn Words' Histories
Program: Tell Me More
• Does Jobs Report Mean Things Are Getting Better?
• 50 Years After Vatican II Transformation Continues
• Dalai Lama Appoints American To A Top Post
• Did The President Completely Strike Out?
Program: Weekend Edition Saturday
September 29, 2012
• Spain Climbs Toward What It Hopes Is Recovery
• More Austerity Looms For Weary Greeks
• Jimmy Hoffa: Still Searching. Still Waiting.
• L.A. County Sheriff Slammed In Report Alleging Abuse
• Tylenol Bottles: Hard To Open For 30 Years
• 'Instant' Recounts The Magic Of Polaroids
• Must See? A Car Chase On Fox Prompts Apology
• Damian Lewis On The Conflicts And Complexities Of 'Homeland'
• Leonard Bernstein's 'Kaddish' Symphony: A Crisis Of Faith
• Scramble For Ohio Has High Stakes For Romney
• Utah's Democratic Congressman Faces A GOP Anomaly
• A Dip Into The Annals Of Presidential Debates
• U.S. Increases Aid To Syria As Violence Rages On
• Reporting On Hope, Despair In The Middle East
• 'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings
• Bouillabaisse: From Humble Beginnings To High-Class Tourist Meal
• Sports: The Refs Are Back And Who's At Bat
• Online And In The Open: Transparent Novel Writing
• Frankie Valli On Hair Products And Finding His Falsetto
• Arthur O. Sulzberger, Former 'New York Times' Publisher, Dies
Program: Weekend Edition Sunday
September 30, 2012
• Insider Attacks Hinder Transition Out Of Afghanistan
• The Tricky Business Of Reintegrating The Taliban
• Candidates Push For Colo. To Swing In Their Favor
• To Prep For Debates, Stand-Ins Take The Stage
• How Humans Are Facilitating More Disease 'Spillover'
• 'I've Been Everywhere' Turns 2 Hours Into 50 Years Of Pay
• Seeing Double
• The 'Future' Of Movies? Critic Says It's Not So Bright
• 'Looper' Director: Memory A Form Of Time Travel
• Campaigns Prepare For Highly Anticipated Debates
• Another Big Supreme Court Term On The Docket
• Shocking Video Could Throw Georgian Election
• Venezuela's Young Voters Courted Heavily In Election
• Gaining From A Bad Call: What Should Athletes Do?
• U.K.'s Simmering Class Tensions Roil Over 'Plebe' Flap
• Inverting 'King Lear' In 'Goldberg Variations'
• Janis Martin, 'The Female Elvis,' Returns
Program: World of Opera
November 4, 2011
• History With A Toxic Twist: 'Lucrezia Borgia'
Whew! You'll never know how much work that was!
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