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Attorneys: Spanier's Top-Secret Security Clearance Upheld After Investigation

by on July 16, 2012 6:45 PM

Attorneys for former Penn State President Graham Spanier released a statement Monday afternoon attacking the credibility of Louis Freeh's report and that their client's top-secret security clearance was ignored in the investigation. 

Freeh's investigative report of Penn State was released Thursday and revealed the university's top officials and former head coach Joe Paterno covered up Jerry Sandusky's pedophilia, for which he was convicted June 22.

The statement, which expresses sympathy for Sandusky's victims in the last sentence, says another investigation of Spanier was being conducted simultaneously with Freeh's. The former resulted in the reaffirmation of Spanier's top-secret security clearance, which he holds because of his work with the federal government.

"The Freeh report ignored many important facts, including the conclusions of a far more independent and thorough investigation of Dr. Graham Spanier conducted simultaneously by federal officials responsible for our national security," Spanier's attorneys, Elizabeth Ainslie and Peter Vaira, said in a statement.

"Dr. Spanier has for some time held a top secret security clearance in connection with his work with the federal government. This clearance required a re-review when the Sandusky matter surfaced in November. Federal investigators then conducted a four-month investigation of their own in which they interviewed many of the same individuals the Freeh Group interviewed and other relevant individuals Freeh did not interview. At the conclusion of the investigation the government reaffirmed Dr. Spanier's clearance.

"Although Dr. Spanier told Mr. Freeh directly about the federal security investigation and its result, there is no mention of it anywhere in the Freeh report.

"The Freeh report is not an independent judicial evaluation. Mr. Freeh, no longer a judge, runs a company that was retained by the Board of Trustees of the University. His report contained numerous inaccuracies and reached conclusions that are not supported by the data. Meanwhile, Mr. Freeh unfairly offered up Dr. Spanier and others to those insisting upon a finding of culpability at the highest level of the University. Mr. Freeh's conclusions are not judicial or law enforcement pronouncements.

"Dr. Spanier looks forward to the opportunity in the future to set the record straight and as we have previously said, all of our thoughts and prayers remain with the young people who are at the center of this terrible ordeal."

The first hearing in Spanier's civil suit against Penn State is scheduled for Aug. 17. The former president filed a complaint May 25 in an attempt to have emails turned over to him that were made a part of the Freeh report. 

The emails in questions, sent by Spanier, may date as far back as 1996 and are on Penn State servers.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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