I had secret clearance when I was in the Army. A job needed it, they ran the checks, and I was given it.
There's a higher clearance level. There are lower clearance levels. Secret was the one I had.
What brought this up?
Did you hear about what Jimmy Carter said? According to the BBC, Carter told Israel's worst-kept secret: they have nuclear weapons.
Mr Carter gave the figure for the Israeli nuclear arsenal in response to a question on US policy on a possible nuclear-armed Iran, arguing that any country newly armed with atomic weapons faced overwhelming odds.
"The US has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union (sic) has about the same; Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more," he said.
Everyone knew Israel already had nuclear weapons. But no one in authority, with actual knowledge, ever said so.
The US, a key ally of Israel, has in general followed the country's policy of "nuclear ambiguity", neither confirming or denying the existence of its assumed arsenal.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included Israel among a list of nuclear states in comments in December 2006, a week after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates used a similar form of words during a Senate hearing.
Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told Reuters news agency he considered Mr Carter's comments "irresponsible".
As a soldier with a secret clearance, I was privy to some information that should remain ... well ... secret. Many others had a higher level of clearance and were privy to more sensitive information. And, what I had access to in no way compares to what the President of the United States has ... or what a former President had.
However, things I was told to keep secret, I've kept secret. And things I witnessed or otherwise became aware, that I wasn't told to keep secret, I've kept secret if I thought it was best.
In other words, I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Jimmy Carter doesn't.
Or maybe, just maybe, he does. Maybe he just tells more than he should when it meets his agenda.
Typical liberal Democrat.