Politics As Jared Kushner’s security clearance is delayed, White House hesitates to act on others with possible problems

05:26  10 february  2018
05:26  10 february  2018 Source:   MSN

Why do so many top White House officials lack full security clearances?

  Why do so many top White House officials lack full security clearances? Neither the White House nor the FBI is taking responsibility in the high backlog of security clearancesOn Monday, the White House blamed delays in the security clearance process on the FBI, but in another sign of the strain between the bureau and the White House, the FBI responded in a statement that they just conduct the background check, they don't grant security clearances, reports CBS News' Jeff Pegues.

Kushner ’ s security clearance . It is not unheard-of for White House aides to lose their security clearances . In a briefing on the final day of Trump’s trip abroad, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster defended the general concept of backchannel communications with other countries on the

“ Jared Kushner ’ s security clearance must be immediately revoked. “We don’t discuss security clearances ,” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a briefing earlier this month when asked about the matter.

a man in a suit standing in front of a crowd: Trusted Trump adviser Jared Kushner with then- White House staff secretary Rob Porter, left, and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in August. © Alex Brandon/AP Trusted Trump adviser Jared Kushner with then- White House staff secretary Rob Porter, left, and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in August.

White House Counsel Donald McGahn and other Trump administration officials have been so vexed by Jared Kushner’s months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems, several people familiar with the matter said.

Dozens of White House employees, including Kushner, are still waiting for permanent clearances and have been operating for months on a temporary status that allows them to handle sensitive information while the FBI probes their backgrounds, U.S. officials have said. Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future.

Dem senators want list of White House officials with interim security clearances

  Dem senators want list of White House officials with interim security clearances Six Democratic senators on Wednesday wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for a full list of White House staffers working without a full security clearance.Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tom Udall (N.M.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) noted recent reports that indicated dozens of White House officials and appointees have been working in the Trump administration with interim security clearances.The letter asks for a list of those with interim clearances, as well as the status of FBI background investigations into those individuals.

2017-06-21. Dem Members to White House COS Re. Flynn Kushner Clearances -2 by LawNewz on Scribd. The letter raises “serious concerns” over the security clearances held by Jared Kushner , Michael Flynn, and “ other White House Officials.”

Concerns over the fate of Jared Kushner ' s final security clearance have begun to creep into the West Wing.

It is not uncommon for ­security-clearance investigations to drag on for months, but Kushner’s unique situation has cast a pall over the process in the minds of some, these people said.

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The president’s son-in-law and close adviser has been allowed to see materials, including the President’s Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government. He has been afforded that privilege even though he has only an interim clearance and is a focus in the ongoing special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election.

Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s attorney, said in a statement: “I have inquired and been told that there are a dozen or more people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process is delayed like his; that it is not uncommon for this process to take this long in a new administration (some taking as long as two years); that Mr. Kushner’s will take longer than usual because of the extent of his holdings, travels and lengthy submissions; and that there was no concern about the process or Mr. Kushner’s ability to do his job. This is just the latest in unnamed sources quoting second-hand hearsay concerning Mr. Kushner that, like the others, will be shown to be untrue.”

At least 100 White House officials served with 'interim' security clearances until November

  At least 100 White House officials served with 'interim' security clearances until November Nearly a year into President Donald Trump's administration, senior-level staffers -- including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Rob Porter -- remained on interim clearances even as other senior advisers were granted full security access, according to information obtained by CNN from a US government official. Having interim clearance can hamper a staffer's ability to perform essential functions of the job, a former administration official said. It requires those with full permanent clearances to remain vigilant about what information is shared with those still operating on an interim basis.

House Democrats Have Questions About Jared Kushner ' s Security Clearance . Congressional Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus requesting information about the security clearances of White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and

The decision over whether Jared Kushner will be stripped of his security clearance could ultimately be made by one man — his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. For new White House employees who don't already have a clearance sponsored by another agency, background

Those in McGahn’s office, people familiar with the matter said, feel they cannot take action on other people whose background checks have dragged on because they did not take similar steps with Kushner.

Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley, though, disputed that Kushner’s situation affects any others. “This is absolutely not true,” Gidley said in a statement. “The White House treats all security clearances individually, neutrally and equally.”

McGahn and Kushner have clashed repeatedly on a number of topics, though Kushner’s lack of a clearance has been particularly irksome for the White House’s top lawyer and other administration officials in recent months, people familiar with the matter said.

Gidley said: “Don and Jared have had a great working relationship since the campaign and that has continued throughout their time at the White House. Don has no concerns with Jared’s ability to do his job.”

Ex-wife: Porter informed in September security clearance was 'delayed'

  Ex-wife: Porter informed in September security clearance was 'delayed' Disgraced former White House aide Rob Porter told one of his ex-wives in September that he was informed that his security clearance check was "delayed" in part because of concerns that he was "violent." The revelation, shared with CNN on Wednesday by Porter's ex-wife Jennie Willoughby, raises fresh questions about who at the White House knew what -- and when -- regarding the domestic abuse allegations leveled against Porter by his two ex-wives, Willoughby and Colbie Holderness. Both women have said they were interviewed by the FBI in January 2017 as a part of Porter's background check.

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wants the White House to explain why senior adviser Jared Kushner still has a security clearance despite reports he failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials and businessmen.

"While the various congressional and law enforcement investigations continue, the White House should take all possible steps to protect national security including immediately revoking Mr. Kushner ' s security clearance ," the letter read.

The issue of security clearances burst into the spotlight this week after it was revealed that two ex-wives of White House staff secretary Rob Porter had accused him of domestic violence and relayed those allegations to FBI background-check investigators. Porter, like Kushner, had been operating on an interim security clearance that allowed him to keep his job in the White House.

Porter first told McGahn in January 2017 of problems with his ex-wives, though McGahn has said he did not know specifically of the allegations of domestic violence. Last fall, though, the White House Security Office informed him of the alleged abuse, people familiar with the matter said.

The White House Security Office makes determinations on security clearances, after the FBI provides the findings from its background checks. McGahn, people familiar with the matter said, decided to wait for a final determination and see whether investigators could substantiate the allegations, rather than ousting Porter immediately.

It was not clear to what extent Kushner’s case weighed on McGahn’s mind as he was confronted specifically with Porter’s situation. McGahn told White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, and Kelly agreed that Porter — a fierce ally of his — should be allowed to stay on.

Trump aides are asked if they are vulnerable to blackmail

  Trump aides are asked if they are vulnerable to blackmail Some officials seeking security clearances were asked to provide any info that could be a "source of embarrassment, or be used to coerce or blackmail you."In the wake of Wednesday's report by NBC News that more than 130 White House officials lacked full security clearances as of November, the supplemental questions — which are not part of the standard questionnaire filled out by other government officials — shed light on the sort of information that could raise flags in a background investigation.

On Thursday, House Democrats introduced new legislation aimed at Jared Kushner ’ s security clearance . The Security Clearance Review Act would authorize the F.B.I Director to revoke the security clearance of senior White House staff

He' s been part of the Trump administration from the very beginning, but Jared Kushner , President Trump' s son-in-law and senior adviser, still doesn't have a permanent security clearance , White House officials and others with knowledge of the situation told Politico Thursday.

Why Kushner, along with dozens of others, continues to lack a clearance remains unclear. For many, there could be innocuous reasons — for instance, that they are getting checked for the first time, or their extensive business and foreign ties take time to explore.

Kushner is a key figure in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. Though Kushner has not been charged with any crimes, his conduct was referenced in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Flynn admitted he lied to the FBI about his contacts in December 2016 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and indicated that he was acting in consultation with a very senior Trump transition official.

Court papers did not name that official, but people familiar with the matter said it was Kushner. According to one transition team official, Kushner told Flynn that blocking a U.N. resolution on Israel was a top priority of the president-elect.

Kushner also has had to file several updates to his national security questionnaire — the document that serves essentially as the foundation of the security-clearance process. The questionnaire, known as an SF-86, requests voluminous information about a person’s employment history, finances, family, travel and other matters, which the FBI later checks to help determine if a person should be awarded a clearance.

Kushner’s first form, submitted in January, did not list his foreign contacts and got the dates of his graduate degrees and his father-in-law’s address wrong. He submitted an addendum the next day acknowledging that he had foreign contacts and indicating he was willing to detail them. Then in May, he submitted another addendum, detailing more than 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries.

In June, Kushner submitted yet another addendum; this one listed the meeting he attended with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower whom Donald Trump Jr. believed had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

New White House security clearance policy could put ‘bull’s eye’ on Kushner .
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said he plans to discontinue top-secret access for employees with long-standing interim clearances.Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, has been able to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets even as his background investigation has dragged on for more than a year.

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