Kushner Still Lacks Highest Level Security Clearance

Politics

Presidential son-in-law and top White House adviser Jared Kushner lacks the clearance necessary to view the nation’s most closely-guarded secrets. The revelation was reported by The Washington Post.

It is the latest development in a story that has drawn out for nearly two years as Kushner has struggled to achieve, and maintain, the security clearances necessary to review the nation’s most sensitive security material.

Kushner’s security clearance was reinstated in May, but only to “top secret” status according to the report. He has not been granted approval to review “sensitive compartmented information,” or SCI, information. Top Secret/SCI is the nation’s highest level security information and it usually contains U.S. intelligence sources and surveillance methods. Access to it is determined by the CIA.

Kushner’s security issues have their roots in revelations that a senior White House aide had abused both his ex-wives. Those revelations 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.

The reasons for Kushner’s downgrade remain unclear but according to sources close to Kushner he still retains the levels of clearance necessary to do his job.

“After a review done in the normal course by career officials, Mr. Kushner was given his permanent White House clearances in May, and has access to all the materials and information he needs to do the domestic and international work the president has asked him to do,” his attorney Abbe Lowell told The Post.

Photo by Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

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