Kushner’s Security Clearance Gets Reinstated

Politics

President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had his Top Secret/SCI-level security clearance restored last week, according to officials. Kushner had seen his security clearance downgraded to Secret level in February after questions arose over a security clearance that had been pending since January 2017.

The move had barred Kushner from viewing some of the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive reports, information that Kushner had previously had access to. Top Secret/SCI-level security is the nation’s highest.

Kushner had been receiving top-secret information on an interim clearance level since entering the White House and had been putting it to good use. According to reports, Kushner had requested more U.S. intelligence information than any other White House staffer not working for the National Security Council in the time he’s been at the White House.

Top Secret/sensitive compartmented information (SCI) security clearance allowed Kushner to review some of the nation’s most sensitive information, including the presidential daily brief. Individuals with Secret-level clearance are not allowed to view the PDB.

Revelations that a senior White House aide had abused both his ex-wives became public in February. The White House contended they had become aware of the allegations only then, but subsequent congressional testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted that account. According to Wray, the FBI notified the White House of the allegations last year.

The aide, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, had been operating under a partial security clearance the entire time he at the White House. The abuse allegations were part of the reason Porter’s security clearance was being held up.

Subsequent analysis revealed that over 100 officials working in the White House, and elsewhere in the Trump administration, were doing so without permanent security clearances. Forty-seven of them, including White House Counsel Don McGahn, First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, reported directly to the President.

In the wake of the scandal White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced new, stricter rules regarding security clearances and who got them. Under the new initiatives, Kelly revoked top clearances for anyone whose background check had been pending since June 1, 2017 or earlier.

The cutoff was largely seen as targeting Kushner specifically as he initially failed to disclose dozens of contacts he had with foreign business and governmental actors on standard disclosure forms. He subsequently amended his submission, but that process meant that his background information was submitted later in June 2017, well after Kelly’s cutoff.

Kushner’s legal team now believe all inquiries into his background have been concluded. Kushner had also been investigated by the Robert Mueller investigative team who were looking into Kushner’s contacts with foreign government officials both before and after the 2016 presidential election.

“A year ago, Jared was one of the first to voluntarily cooperate with any investigation into the 2016 campaign and related topics,” his attorney, Abbe Lowell said in a statement.

“Since then, he has continued this complete cooperation, providing a large number of documents and sitting for hours of interviews with congressional committees and providing numerous documents and sitting for two interviews with the Office of Special Counsel. On each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did everything he could to expedite the conclusion of all the investigations.”

Kushner had been given an expansive portfolio by the President, who asked the young aide to spearhead U.S. strategy on everything from upgrading the country’s technological infrastructure to achieving peace in the Middle East, efforts Lowell says have continued unabated.

“Throughout the process, Mr. Kushner has continued to work on a number of foreign policy and domestic issues with no interruption. Having completed all of these processes, he is looking to continue to do the work the President has asked him to do,” Lowell said.

Photo by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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