Over the course of 30 years in the military, I received many secret and top-secret security checks. I also went through many other security checks as a pilot for presidential candidates and the president-elect, along with other job assignments.

Kevin Carley of Portland (“Commentary: Don’t let those who can’t get top-security clearance run for president,” March 14) says that a drunken-driving conviction or personal bankruptcy would have prevented him from receiving a security clearance. They would draw attention, but thousands of people have security clearances with those on their records.

Girlfriend-boyfriend problems and extramarital affairs? We would have a significantly smaller military and Congress if those issues were a problem. FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page carried on a well-documented affair for several years. I haven’t read of their clearances being revoked.

Regarding presidential clearances? Carley had a low-level local employee check him out for a day or two when he was under consideration for the position of Peace Corps country director. Anyone running for president has undergone a thousand times the investigation that he underwent, and done by extremely professional folks. In addition, thousands of reporters and even a few political opponents have spent millions of dollars and uncountable hours hunting for a story to win a Pulitzer Prize or discredit someone they don’t like.

Our presidential candidates are the most researched, investigated individuals in the history of mankind. If they have blemishes, and they all do, they are well known beforehand, and whether they are elected is up to the voters and perhaps the courts. Do we really want a handful of civil servants determining who they think is fit to be president?

George Bentley

retired colonel