Ill. governor's federal security clearance revoked

CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich's access to classified federal security information, officials said Friday.

The move withdraws the governor's access to classified information, although Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said other individuals within state and local government have access and the head of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has usually been the main contact in emergencies.

The revocation was "pretty standard procedure," Guerrero said, adding that such emergencies are rare.

"It hasn't come up - I don't think it's something that comes up often," he said.

IEMA received a memo about Homeland Security's decision on Dec. 9, the day Blagojevich was arrested, said spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The memo was brief and did not include a reason for the action.

"It doesn't change day-to-day operations very much at all," she said. "Several other people both with Homeland Security and law enforcement are receiving that type of information on a regular basis."

Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., confirmed the revocation but declined to comment further on circumstances surrounding the decision.

Blagojevich did not normally receive briefings on homeland security matters, Thompson said. He would only be informed of high-profile cases, she said, citing examples such as a 2006 plot to blow up the Sears Tower and, the same year, plans to bomb planes flying between the U.S. and London.

The federal charges against Blagojevich include allegations that he tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat for money or a high-paying job. That triggered calls for his resignation and the beginning of impeachment proceedings in the Illinois Legislature.

Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing and has rejected calls to resign.


Associated Press Writer Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report.