FLEOA's Concerns with Security Clearance Bill

February 1, 2021

Honorable Stephanie Murphy
U.S. House of Representatives
1710 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Murphy,

We are writing to you concerning your recent introduction of H.R.353, a bill to amend the Standard Form 86 questionnaire used for national security eligibility determinations to include questions regarding an individual's membership in, or association with, organizations spreading conspiracy theories regarding the government and participation in the activities occurring at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. 

The riots on the US Capitol were abhorrent, as were the attacks against US Capitol Police Officers and the other law enforcement officers that responded to those riots. Those that breached the US Capitol and / or attacked law enforcement officers deserve the full weight and force of the federal judicial system. In the same way, those that attacked federal buildings and law enforcement officers around our nation over the past year, or participated in riots, looting, arson, and violence, also deserve the full weight of the criminal justice system. As U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly pointed out, however, law abiding Americans had attended rallies over the past year with the sole intent of expressing their First Amendment rights but quickly found themselves involved in a situation where extremist groups co-opted those rallies in order to commit acts of violence. 

As law enforcement officers, we know that an individual’s presence at one of these events does not indicate criminal or nefarious conduct. Our Constitutional rights are sacrosanct, and it is completely lawful for people to attend, think, read and even believe things that others may not agree with. And our members are proud of their role as the protectors of those rights. But once that constitutionally-protected right to assemble devolves into political violence, that is where there must be significant and swift consequences for the perpetrators of that violence. This is true regardless of which "side” they are on. 

So while we agree that those who committed violent acts against the federal government, its officers or employees, should be ineligible to hold a position of public trust within that same government, it is a very slippery slope to go beyond that and begin imposing investigations or penalties on an individual’s career, life, and livelihood for the simple act of peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights. Which is exactly what we believe H.R. 353 as currently drafted would do. We appreciate your willingness to consider our views on this matter. 


Larry Cosme
National President 


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