RUSH: Now, I want to go to the phones, because we are fortunate to have Sluggo. Sluggo is Mark Hasara, Lieutenant Mark Hasara who, very brief version, flew the American flag on his tanker into the invasion of Iraq, 2003, unbeknownst to me in my honor, and it flew on other planes that day. He sent the flag and explanation to me, unbeknownst to me. He has written a book that came out last November about his life in the Air Force as a tanker pilot. And he’s called. I mean, he actually got through. Snerdley put him up there, on line 2, so we’re gonna break protocol, we’re gonna take a call in the monologue section. Sluggo, how are you doing?
CALLER: Sir Rush!
RUSH: Well, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: First-time caller, longtime listener since 1991.
RUSH: (laughing) 1991. Well, welcome. To what do we owe the pleasure of your call today, Sluggo?
CALLER: I find this story about Jared Kushner’s security clearance fascinating in a fake news kind of way. I spent 24 and a half years in the military, Rush, on active duty, and my security clearance was upgraded and downgraded numerous times. And it all depends on your job position, but more importantly, Rush, on your need to know. ‘Cause we have to protect the information, but more importantly, protect the method and discipline on how we got the information.
RUSH: How much similarity do you think there is in your being examined for clearance check and so forth between what you had to pass in the Air Force and what they’re doing in the White House? What are the similarities, if any, in what you’d have to do to prove you need to know?
CALLER: When I was working in the defense industry they were asking the same questions I was being asked when I was on active duty, Rush. The background checks cover the same things, financial. I was always asked do I have bank accounts in foreign countries, where are those bank accounts, how much is in those bank accounts. These kinds of questions are normal, Rush. And so the evaluation that we went through for our security clearances covers a lot of aspects to make sure that, you know, we aren’t targets for espionage and somebody coming up and flashing a lot of cash to us and saying, “We need this information. We’ll pay you this much for it.”
RUSH: Yeah, but something’s happened in the Kushner story that made you want to call here. I guess his clearance has been downgraded from top secret to secret, whatever that means, and they’re saying that this is happening because he has fallen out of favor, that maybe some people don’t trust him in the White House. They’re trying to make it as negative as it could be. What I gather you’re saying is that these changes happen all the time based on need to know rather than people’s judgment of somebody’s fitness, correct?
CALLER: That is correct. And when I didn’t have a need to know, my security clearance, Rush, was downgraded from top discreet down to secret.
RUSH: Look, I understand you don’t know a thing about what’s going on in the White House, and I’m trying to entrap you here, but how could his need to know change on a day-to-day or even month-to-month basis? I mean, he passes his background check apparently, gets some degree of clearance for security, and then we’re told that the chief of staff decided to change the system whereby clearances are passed out, and that resulted in Jared Kushner being downgraded a slot. You think something’s nefarious about this or you’re just trying to explain that it’s really not nefarious?
CALLER: I’m trying to explain that it’s not nefarious and these kinds of evaluations, Rush, go on all the time.
RUSH: And so the only reason we even know about this is ’cause Kushner is a target of Trump’s enemies, media and so forth, otherwise we never would know about it.
CALLER: That is correct. Everybody in Trump’s family has been a target, haven’t they?
RUSH: They remain so.
CALLER: They’re just trying to make a big story out of this, and there’s really no reason for it because like I said, Rush, I was in certain positions and had a need to know top secret information, and my security clearance was upgraded accordingly. When I left that position or I didn’t have a need to know that information, my security clearance was downgraded back to secret.
And this kind of movement happened numerous times throughout my career. And the military guys all understand that it’s going to happen, depending on what you’re doing. And I just don’t think it’s a big story. They’re making a big thing out of it and there’s no reason to. My manuscript had to go through a security clearance check. It had to go through seven different organizations in the Pentagon. Again, it’s just to protect the information.
RUSH: Well, now, wait a minute. Wait. Hold it just a second now. You took a turn. I’m gonna follow you.
RUSH: Did the department the Wednesday or any of the people that you had to submit your book manuscript to, did they make you take anything out of because of potential security the violations or threats?
CALLER: There were things that could have been redacted but fortunately I wrote my book in such a manner that I was careful not to put things in there that I knew would cause security red flags.
RUSH: Well, so congratulations. So you got an unredacted book out there that passed the Pentagon?
CALLER: And guess when it got stamped “approved”? On September 11th, 2017. I kept that stamp, by the way. I’ve got that front page, and it’s got that stamp on it, September 11th. I thought that was kind of a good omen.
RUSH: Ah, that is. Well, I remember when Colonel Hasara — by the way, for those of you just joining us, this is lieutenant colonel retired Mark Hasara, U.S. Air Force. Flew tankers — and what other aircraft did you fly besides tankers in your career? Short list.
CALLER: I’ve flown F-15s, I have even flown in Royal Air Force DC-10 tankers, C-130s, E3 AWACS, and I have 10 catapult assisted takeoffs and 10 arrested landings, aircraft carriers.
RUSH: Did you ever fly a Warthog?
CALLER: Warthog’s only a single theater, so they’d have to strap me to the wing to fly that. (laughing)
RUSH: Okay. I remember when Sluggo decided to write the book, his original title was Passing Gas, which I thought was —
CALLER: Yes, it was.
RUSH: — just ideal, because he flies tanker jets in the military, passing gas, because nobody kicks ass without tanker gas, right?
RUSH: I thought it was — but you downgraded the title — well, you changed. You didn’t downgrade it. And the book came out —
CALLER: Well, there’s actually another book out there called Passing Gas, and the folks at Simon & Schuster said, you know, let’s change the title a little bit, and so we did.
RUSH: Oh, I didn’t know that.
RUSH: I didn’t know there was another.
CALLER: Yeah. But, you know, everybody loves the story about you helping us hunt bin Laden.
CALLER: I told you that story.
RUSH: Right. Right. Tell it. Look. My ego prevents me bragging to that degree. So very briefly, tell the story about me helping.
CALLER: In 2002, we were able to pinpoint Osama Bin Laden’s location in the Shah-i-Kot Valley. My team had to create a refueling system for Operation Anaconda, and we had three air fueling areas. We named them Rush, Hannity, and O’Reilly.
CALLER: And to be bipartisan, ’cause the military has to be bipartisan, on the far left-hand side of the country right up against the Iranian border, we put Hillary and Kennedy.
RUSH: Okay. (laughing)
CALLER: All right? During the war in Iraq when we moved tankers into Iraqi airspace, I named them all after female country western singers. We opened Reba and Shania south of Baghdad. We had Faith after Faith Hill, near Baghdad. Martina McBride had one named after her near the Syrian border. But we were all really pleased to know that Rush Limbaugh was helping us hunt Osama Bin Laden over the Shah-i-Kot Valley in March of 2002.
RUSH: And it’s another thing that was being done, I was totally, totally unaware of it. Well, look, Sluggo, congratulations on the —
CALLER: And you were offloading millions of pounds of gas in Russia, too. You know that? Millions of pounds of gas.
CALLER: More than you would use — my airplane takes off with 180,000 pounds of gas, and your vehicle won’t use that in 27 years.
RUSH: I know. And just think of all the climate change damage one takeoff, one takeoff of yours is wreaking.
CALLER: I would rather have effectiveness than efficiency any day of the week.
RUSH: Absolutely. Hey, I’m glad you called. It’s a thrill that you took the time to get through here and I appreciate your input on the security clearance stuff with Jared Kushner. Again, he doesn’t think there’s anything nefarious here. It’s just people’s need to know changes based on news and so forth, and the media’s hyping this as a way of taking another potshot at Trump and his family. You’re in Salt Lake City right now, right?
CALLER: Yes, sir. I’m here in Utah writing more books.
RUSH: Well, congratulations. The first one is awesome.
CALLER: It’s selling well, doing well, doing well, and I did a lecture over the weekend, C-SPAN actually recorded it for possible broadcast in a couple weeks, and —
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. You did a C-SPAN book TV interview?
CALLER: Over the weekend, I was giving a lecture at the Hill Air Force Base museum, and C-SPAN recorded it for broadcast in two or three weeks.
RUSH: Well, that’s fabulous.
CALLER: Yeah, it is. It’s really fun.
RUSH: That’s fabulous. Well, I’ve been on C-SPAN. They’re harmless.
CALLER: Well, you’ve been on a lot of programs.
RUSH: I have.
CALLER: Great to always see your face up there.
RUSH: Mark, thank you. I’m glad to hear from you. That’s Mark Hasara, nickname Sluggo. Great tanker pilot, United States Air Force for 24 years.
RUSH: The title of Sluggo’s book is Tanker Pilot: Lessons From the Cockpit. And there are a lot of photos. There’s some incredible air-to-air photos that Sluggo took with his own camera and phone while on missions, refueling photos and so forth. It really is a fascinating book on a side of the Air Force that’s not much talked about, that is, the refueling aspect, which there’s not a single mission that would be possible without it, because of how much fuel these jets consume. Fascinating read.
By the way, on the security clearance business, I want to emphasize that Hasara was exactly right. Your security clearance will change based on your need to know, which is largely determined by your job. And the media is trying to say that Kushner lost his security clearance because he may not be trustworthy or because they found that he’s doing dubious things that nobody learned about. That’s the impression that they’re trying to give with all this. It’s just part of the never-ending onslaught of the Trump family and the Trump administration.
Do you know that as far as security clearances, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning had top security clearances. Hillary Clinton, Huma Weiner, and other Hillary staffers reportedly still have their security clearances from the Obama administration so they can help Hillary write her next best-seller, ahem.
So it’s kind of a way that they can take a shot at Kushner. They’re relating it to, “You know what we found? We found that Jared Kushner was leveraging his position in the White House to get loans of up to $500 million for his family. That’s a violation of every ethics law you can think of.” And then he had a security clearance cut. This is what they’re trying to create in terms of people’s perception.