There’s a good reason personnel are screened for sensitive security positions in government with checks on their sex life, basic honesty, deep-dark secrets, personal idiosyncrasies.

It’s not because a bunch of sex police like prying into the “personal lives” of would-be government employees. It’s because those personal lives can compromise the employee — and thus compromise national security.

That’s just one of the many reasons — regardless of whether the impeachment counts of perjury and obstruction of justice are proven to the Senate beyond a shadow of a doubt — that Bill Clinton must be turned out of office. It’s the right thing to do for the country. It’s the only thing to do for the country.

Even some Democrats seem to get it. It’s just too bad none of them appear to be serving in the U.S. Senate at the moment.

Former Sen. Sam Nunn got it just about right in an appearance on a CNN special last week.

Asked by Judy Woodruff if he thought the U.S. is at any greater risk from a national security standpoint with Clinton in the White House, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said: “I think there’s a heightened risk. I’ve thought that for several months.”

Nunn went on to raise the ugly specters of espionage and blackmail.

“For people to say that the president of the United States having — allegedly — telephone sex, is strictly private, has nothing to do with official duties. It means they’ve never been acquainted with the world of espionage and the world of blackmail,” Nunn explained. “And, certainly, the White House is one of the most targeted places in the world in terms of foreign espionage. And so you have to ask the question: What if a foreign agent heard a young woman carrying on discussions, and then tapped her telephone? Those are the kinds of questions that have to be asked, and we have to understand there are consequences and risks and dangers anytime the president has conversations on the phone which could be intercepted and could be embarrassing to him personally.”

Bernard Shaw asked Nunn if he could elaborate on those “consequences.”

“The consequences are there’s exposure and risk,” Nunn said. “I have no idea whether there was any kind of intercept here. I’m not on the committees, but those questions have to be asked because you don’t want any president, or any high-ranking official in a position to be leveraged by any kind of either foreign power or even domestic source. So that’s the danger here. And private conduct that can be used in that way becomes a matter of great public concern.”

Even at that, Nunn wasn’t finished. Once again, he added that “these are questions that must be asked.”

“They may not go to the articles of impeachment, but I keep hearing people say that strictly private behavior has nothing to do with official duties,” Nunn said. “And I just don’t see how anybody can come to that conclusion that knows anything about how the world operates.”

Nunn’s common-sense warning is refreshing, if a bit late. Can you believe with all the windbags pontificating on the talking head shows night after night that it has taken this long for a responsible U.S. leader to state the obvious — that the would-be emperor has no clothes, no sense, no judgment, no self-control?

Nunn is right. Those questions need to be asked. But they’re not the only questions that still need asking. There are lots of them. And all we seem to hear in this three-ring circus is a hairsplitting, legalistic debate over whether Clinton is technically guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Maybe we ought to put the nation’s best interests ahead of the questions of whether there is reasonable doubt about his guilt. After all, the Senate and Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist have decided that Clinton’s fate is not in the hands of a jury, but rather in the hands of a political body that is sworn to uphold the Constitution and be guided by the best interests of the nation.

Clearly, neither the Constitution nor the country is served well by having a sticky-fingered moral reprobate with one hand on the nuclear button and the other dialing for phone sex.

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