2 people involved in the Penn State sex scandal have top secret clearance

By Michael Kelley

Two men on opposite sides of one of the biggest scandals in sports history share an air of secrecy granted by their work for the FBI.

Former Penn St. president Graham Spanier was arraigned today on charges he attempted to cover-up the massive child abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The investigator that revealed Spanier’s alleged crimes, Louis Freeh, has also been accused of heading a massive cover-up when he was director of the FBI.

Spanier’s lawyers previously argued that Freeh’s report was unfounded in part because it didn’t take into account another investigation of Spanier “conducted simultaneously by federal officials responsible for our national security.”

That investigation reaffirmed Spanier’s Top Secret security clearance, which he holds from being chairman of the FBI National Security Higher Education Advisory Board. In 2008 Spanier accepted the “Award for Excellence in Public Service” at FBI headquarters.

Spanier was fired last November after having served as PSU president since 1995 and subsequently began consulting for the U.S. government on a project “relating to national security.” The details regarding his most recent federal gig—like which agency he works for—remain a mystery.

Freeh, who was FBI Director from 1993 to 2001, has a mystique of his own. He is a member of the secretive group Opus Dei. The international Roman Catholic order, founded in 1928 and championed early by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, is dedicated to establishing its members in high political, corporate, and religious offices all over the world.

It’s interesting—if not highly relevant given that 1.4 million Americans have Top Secret clearance—that both the man charged with orchestrating the Penn St. cover-up and the investigator who exposed his alleged role have worked on classified projects for the government.