OBAMA'S DUAL CITIZENSHIP AND SECURITY CLEARANCE ISSUES
Can a U.S. President Hold Dual Citizenship?
Some countries automatically confer citizenship to children of as a result of what their parents were. Of first note here would be Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. He was born in New Jersey, but his mother was an Israeli citizen. Therefore, the Israelis can claim him as one of their own, but this is not his fault. It is an accident of birth. While there are anti-Semites who try to exploit his situation, there is no reason to doubt his loyalty. The issue here, however, is not one of loyalty. This issue is one of our own regulations, particularly with respect to security clearances. I myself twice refused to accept dual citizenship with Israel because it would have caused problems with my Coast Guard secret security clearance. In 1992, as a Coast Guard Reservist, I drilled at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv while visiting Israel for two months on an A-1 Temporary Resident Visa. Still, my clearance was pulled for one year upon my return to Coast Guard Pacific Area The incident kept me from being promoted, even though I was later called back to active duty twice and actually remained on active duty as the Coast Guard's oldest lieutenant until I reached my 60th birthday in 2007! Of note today, President Elect Obama's Chief of Staff is Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli with dual citizenship who has served twice in the Israeli Army (IDF) in a civilian capacity.
So what is the problem with President Elect Obama? He has Kenyan citizenship that is also an accident of birth, but I don't think it's a problem. The issue, however, is with respect to his Indonesian citizenship. Some countries take away citizenship the moment the person acquires another nationality. Indonesia is in this category. Now, what does this mean in the case of Obama? His school registration lists his citizenship as Indonesian. This mean that they probably took away his U.S. passport, and required him to travel from then on with an Indonesian passport. Our security manual sometimes undergoes changes, and I am awaiting the latest regulations, but if Obama never gave up his Indonesian passport, that would cause a security clearance problem. We are not just talking about the need for a secret clearance here. The issue is whether he should have a top secret (or even beyond top secret) clearance. Clearly, a president must have access to every secret we have. Hopefully, this will all be cleared up in a proper and transparent manner, and he will serve honorably as our 44th President.