Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who proudly serves Florida’s Seventh District, introduces a bill called the Security Clearance Improvement Act of 2021(SCIA) to “disqualify participants in Capitol attack or members of QANON from holding security clearances”—a direct quote from her congressional website.

Rep. Murph
Bill to Prevent Capitol Protesters from Holding Security Clearance/Murphy Webpage

Murphy, a former national security specialist who held high-security clearance at the Department of Defense (DoD), seems to make no bones about whom she targets with this bill.

She states in her press release that “people who participated in the assault on the Capitol” or who are QANON followers should be denied security access because, “It is highly unlikely that such an individual will be found by investigators to have shown the conduct, character, and loyalty to the United States that is a prerequisite to holding a national security position and viewing classified information.” 

The bill also expands the universe of targeted individuals to anyone who attended a “similar Stop the Steal activity.” Had she not included Stop the Steal protests, one might assume that she means only the much smaller group of people who actually damaged property on Jan.6, not the 100’s of thousands of people who stood peacefully and, in some cases, prayerfully, outside of the Capitol with their American flags.

Protester/Topeka/Capitol Meemaw

Those who apply for security clearance must reasonably accept that invasive questions will be posed on their Standard Form 86 application. Such questions are necessary to guard against nefarious actors in our government who might subvert their office to carry out disruptive activity against the country.

The application covers a multitude of activities, including foreign activity, employment history, arrest history, and mental health. However, this bill proposes the addition of a question to Section 29, “The Association Record,” part of the application. In the current form, an applicant is asked 5 questions pertaining to his or her association with terrorist organizations, organizations dedicated to the violent overthrow of governments, “or an organization that advocates the use of force or violence to discourage others from exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution.” In all cases, the five questions in this section request specific dates and activities, as shown in the first screenshot below.

Security Clearance Questions/Section 29

Murphy’s bill, however, adds a question to the Section 29 (Association Record) part of the application. Her bill would “direct the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to add another question to Section 29 that asks applicants whether they have ever been a member of, associated with, or knowingly engaged in activities conducted by an organization or movement—like QAnon—that spreads conspiracy theories and false information about the U.S. government.” 

The bill would also require that the applicant be asked whether he or she attended the Jan. 6 event or any similar event, like Stop the Steal. And, the following is stated directly on her website, “Even if it does not constitute a criminal offense, attendance at an event designed to overturn the results of a presidential election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power raises serious questions about an applicant’s suitability for a security clearance.” It should be noted that nowhere in the press release or the bill is it mentioned that BLM/Antifa protestors would be asked those kinds of questions. In fact, Black Lives Matter has been nominated for a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

On Jan. 22, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden asked the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to complete a full threat assessment of the risk of domestic terrorism following the Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The assessment will draw on governmental and non-governmental organizations and enlist the FBI and other intelligence agencies’ full investigatory powers. This will be the first step in a process that will employ “fact-based analysis” that will shape policy for the administration.

This bill and its accompanying intelligence investigation seem to target a large swath of the American electorate, with the potential to equate innocent people with domestic terrorists. Ayn Rand was prescient when she said,

“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand