U.S. officials with dementia may pose national security threat, Pentagon-funded study finds

The report states that "an increasing number of cleared personnel-that is, personnel who hold or have held security clearances-have or will have dementia."

Published: September 17, 2023 11:13pm

Current and former U.S. officials with dementia may pose a national security threat, according to a Pentagon-funded study that is bringing more scrutiny to aging politicians for recent apparent lapses in cognitive abilities.

Because people are living and working longer, "the workforce might experience a higher prevalence of dementia than in past generations," the study, published by the RAND Corporation's National Security Research Division earlier this year, states.

"Taken together, we believe that an increasing number of cleared personnel – that is, personnel who hold or have held security clearances – have or will have dementia."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has access to more classified information than most other members of Congress due to his leadership position, recently had two brief on-camera "freeze-ups," where he stopped talking and stared blankly forward for less than a minute.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared to forget her multi-month absence and needed to be told how to vote.

At 80, President Joe Biden is the oldest person to hold the Oval Office in U.S. history, and his several public gaffes and stumbles have made his mental and physical fitness a hotly debated topic as he runs for reelection in 2024.

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