Jan 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Democratic bill would block security clearances for Jan. 6 rioters

A demonstrator shoots a chemical irritant at law enforcement in an attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A House Democrat introduced legislation Monday aimed at blocking participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol from obtaining access to classified national security information.

Why it matters: The move comes as Republicans have softened their condemnations of the rioters, with Trump and his allies going so far as to label Jan. 6 defendants as "hostages."

Driving the news: The three-page bill, introduced by Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), would add two questions to SF-86 – a questionnaire that applicants for national security positions must fill out to obtain security clearances:

  1. ''Have you ever been a member of, associated with, or knowingly engaged in activities conducted by an organization or movement that spreads conspiracy theories and false information about the United States Government?''
  2. ''Did you participate in the activities occurring at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, or in any similar activity?''

Zoom in: The new questions would require applicants to answer "yes" or "no" to the questions.

  • If they answer yes, the form should give them space to describe "the nature of, and reasons for" their actions, the bill says.

What they're saying: "January 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation's history. The events of that day demand deep reflection and accountability," said Nickel.

  • "The Security Clearance Improvement Act is a common sense solution to ensure that conspiracy theorists or those who were at the Capitol on January 6th get nowhere near classified information or our country's national security secrets."
  • The bill was previously introduced by former Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D - Fla.), who was a member of the Jan. 6 select committee.
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