August 14, 2018
Omarosa Manigault Newman is going after President Donald Trump and his administration with a book entitled "Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House" set to be released on Aug. 14. USA TODAY
Did Omarosa break the law by secretly taping her firing in White House Situation Room?
Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who specializes in national security cases, tells: "he's represented dozens of federal workers who were caught accidentally bringing their phones or other devices into secure rooms where they are prohibited. If they do it more than once, they can lose their security clearance" he says, which is an administrative violation, not a crime.
"Now if you're recording, that is ratcheting up the level significantly because now it's intentional, so it's a major security violation for sure," he notes.
Zaid says there is a possibility that a Watergate-era law against misappropriating a government "record" (in this case, a secret recording) could be applied but it's "incredibly unlikely" the government would pursue such a case, in part because the law could potentially apply to thousands of government workers who routinely bring work documents home with them.
He points out that Omarosa, having been fired from the White House, has already lost her security clearance, though it's not clear that she had – or needed – one while working on outreach to historically black colleges and universities on racial disparities in the military justice system.
But if she "ever reapplies for a security clearance, then she'll have a problem," Zaid says, though the chances of her ever reapplying are probably minuscule anyway.
President Donald Trump disparage her as "wacky" and a "lowlife" who was "vicious, but not smart."
He continued, "While I know it’s 'not presidential' to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!"
Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement issued Sunday that the "very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security."
Sanders' predecessor, Sean Spicer, told ABC News that if Omarosa had “top secret” security clearance (again, it's not clear she did), she would have been required to abide by security protocols when in secure areas or SCIFs (sensitive compartmented information facility) such as the Situation Room.
“It’s an unbelievable violation of protocol and the law,” Spicer said. “You can lose your security clearance for bringing your device into (a) SCIF — to bring it in is a violation but to willfully record it — you’re entering a whole other realm.”
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