After claiming for months he had five years of experience as a congressional national security staffer with top-secret clearance, Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has now admitted that he had clearance for just five months.
Since Ossoff announced his campaign to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price earlier this year, he has leaned on his supposed five years as a "national security aide with top-secret clearance." The claim has been made in campaign ads, during campaign events, and even in his campaign announcement.
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The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that Ossoff's claim was dubious. Ossoff was a 19-year-old student at Georgetown University when he began working as a part-time staffer for Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), but security clearances are generally granted only to permanent staffers. He was not made a full-time staffer for another two years.
Ossoff's campaign did not respond to Washington Free Beacon requests for more information about his time working in Johnson's office, but provided local reporters with a timeline that shows Ossoff worked for just over two years as a full-time aide—and worked only five months with top-secret clearance.
Here's the timeline, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
— January 2007: Ossoff starts in Johnson's office as a part-time legislative correspondent, working 25-30 hours a week while attending Georgetown University.
— May 2009: Ossoff graduates from Georgetown University.
— Summer 2009: Ossoff spends time traveling before he returns to work as Johnson's legislative assistant in August 2009.
— January 2010: Ossoff is promoted to senior legislative assistant.
— April to July 2010: Ossoff runs Johnson's re-election campaign.
— September 2010: Ossoff returns to Johnson’s Capitol Hill office.
— March 2012: Ossoff receives a top-secret security clearance and staffs Johnson for work related to the National Defense Authorization Act.
— Mid-August 2012: Ossoff leaves Johnson’s office.
Ossoff's campaign previously told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Ossoff was given his security clearance after working on Johnson's campaign as a press officer in 2006—failing to disclose that by "after" they meant six years later.
After Ossoff left Johnson's office he moved to Great Britain to attend graduate school and become CEO of an investigative film company that does work for Al Jazeera.