Politics Kushner Resists Losing Access as Kelly Tackles Security Clearance Issues

05:10  21 february  2018
05:10  21 february  2018 Source:   The New York Times

Government watchdog group files complaint to revoke Kushner security clearance

  Government watchdog group files complaint to revoke Kushner security clearance The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint on Thursday calling on the White House to revoke Jared Kushner's security clearance. Kushner, a senior White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, has been operating on a temporary security clearance for more than a year.The complaint, addressed to chief of staff John Kelly, asks that Kushner's temporary clearance be revoked until he passes the background check and receives full clearance."Mr. Kushner's access to classified information, even on a temporary basis, appears to represent a security threat," the group wrote in the complaint.

Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

“Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access …

a group of people standing around a table: Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, officials say. © Tom Brenner/The New York Times Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, officials say.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets, according to White House officials and others briefed on the matter.

New White House security clearance policy could put ‘bull’s eye’ on Kushner

  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.

Ted Lieu (D-CA) noted, Kushner did not just omit the meeting once on his SF86 security clearance form. It is not unheard-of for White House aides to lose their security clearances .

White House announces new security clearance protocol that could affect Jared Kushner Under fire, Kelly overhauls White House clearance procedure Kelly Orders Overhaul to White House Security Clearance After Abuse Trump visits Florida shooting victims, vows to tackle 'mental health' issues .

Mr. Kushner is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the clearances. The practice has drawn added scrutiny because of Rob Porter, the former staff secretary who resigned under pressure this month after domestic abuse allegations against him became public.

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Mr. Porter’s post entailed handling and reviewing the flow of documents to and from the president, which routinely includes highly classified material. He had been allowed to continue in the job for more than a year with a stopgap clearance even though the F.B.I. had informed the White House of the damaging accusations against him.

White House says Trump son-in-law Kushner can do job without security clearance

  White House says Trump son-in-law Kushner can do job without security clearance U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can continue in his role as a senior White House adviser even if he does not obtain a security clearance, the White House said on Tuesday. Kushner has been operating under a temporary clearance for the past year while the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts a background investigation. Under an order issued on Friday by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Kushner will lose the temporary clearance in less than a week.

Who issues and rescinds clearances in the first place? Could Kushner actually lose his security clearance ? What is a security clearance and how do you get one? Put simply, a security clearance allows federal employees to access classified information.

Ex-DOJ official explains how Mueller ‘is sending a signal’ with charges against Alex Van der Zwaan. Kushner fighting Kelly over losing his According to a report in the New York Times, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law is resisting attempts to withdraw his provisional security clearance .

Mr. Kushner’s clearance has afforded him access to closely guarded information, including the presidential daily brief, the intelligence summary Mr. Trump receives every day, but it has not been made permanent, and his background investigation is still pending after 13 months serving in Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

Now Mr. Kelly, his job at risk and his reputation as an enforcer of order and discipline tarnished by the scandal, is working to revamp the security clearance process, starting with an effort to strip officials who have interim clearances of their high-level access. In a memo issued on Friday, Mr. Kelly said he would revoke top clearances for anyone whose background check had been pending since June 1 or earlier, and review such clearances every month thereafter.

Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access, the officials said. In the talks, the officials say, Mr. Kushner has insisted that he maintain his current level of access, including the ability to review the daily intelligence briefing when he sees fit.

WH trying to keep Kushner involved on sensitive issues without Trump's intervention

  WH trying to keep Kushner involved on sensitive issues without Trump's intervention <p>The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information.</p>The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo a week ago declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information if their background investigation has been pending since before last June — a category Kushner falls into.

That’s when Kelly said he plans to discontinue high levels of access for White House employees whose security clearances have been pending In the fall, McGahn discussed the fact that Kushner was working on an interim clearance with Kelly and again raised the issue of his earlier incomplete

Nearly a year into the Trump administration, senior-level staffers -- including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner -- remained on interim clearances even as other senior advisers were granted full security access Kelly issues memo changing security clearance process in wake of Porter scandal.

But Mr. Kelly, who has been privately dismissive of Mr. Kushner since taking the post of chief of staff but has rarely taken him on directly, has made no guarantees, saying only that the president’s son-in-law will still have all the access he needs to do his job under the new system.

“As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement the White House released on Tuesday in which he refused to address Mr. Kushner’s security clearance or elaborate on his memo.

“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda,” Mr. Kelly said of Mr. Kushner. “There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise.”

It is unclear why Mr. Kushner would want or need to review highly classified information. His current portfolio — which includes acting as an intermediary with Mexico, trying to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, participating in an economic dialogue with China and working on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement — seems unlikely to involve major intelligence or national security secrets. But Mr. Kushner, by dint of his relationship with Mr. Trump, has wide-ranging access to the president and the information that he sees, and does not want to surrender it.

Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance

  Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance President Donald Trump said Friday he will not make the decision on whether to let Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, keep his temporary security clearance, telling reporters at the White House that he will let chief of staff John Kelly make the decision. "That will be up to General Kelly. General Kelly respects Jared a lot and General Kelly will make that call," Trump said at a news conference. "I won't make that call. I will let the general, who is right here, make that call. Jared is doing some very important things for our country. He gets paid zero.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is overhauling the Trump administration’s security clearance process for staff. The Post quotes two US officials who say they don’t think Kushner will receive a permanent security clearance at least in the near future.

U.S. President Donald Trump says his administration is committed to tackling issue of mental health The public will have access to these records in the coming months. Bloomberg is reporting that the IRS has issued subpoenas for investors and lenders in Kushner family real estate projects.

The fact that the White House chief of staff would take the step of publicly denying that a policy change would harm the president’s son-in-law pointed up the tension in the West Wing after the Porter episode, particularly between Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, who had been close allies of Mr. Porter, and Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have been critical of Mr. Kelly in conversations with the president, who spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. surveying people about whether he should fire his chief of staff. Since Mr. Porter’s departure, one official said, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have told people around the White House that they have been vocal in their attempts to defend Mr. Kelly but are being treated unfairly in return.

One person familiar with Mr. Kushner’s thinking, who insisted on anonymity to describe it, denied that he felt personally targeted by Mr. Kelly or was agitating to have him removed. Another White House official denied that Mr. Kushner had ever raised the issue of the intelligence summary in his discussions with Mr. Kelly over his clearance.

But the memo, deliberately or otherwise, has shone an unflattering light on Mr. Kushner, raising questions about whether he can be effective in his post and how much authority he has. That debate threatens to complicate what Mr. Kelly has acknowledged is a long-overdue effort inside the White House to get a handle on the clearance process, a national security imperative over which top officials appear to have placed little priority after Mr. Trump took office.

Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets

  Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) WASHINGTON — The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded, significantly reducing his access to classified information, according to two people informed of the decision.Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" level for more than a year.

And it suggests Democrats and other critics who say Kushner should lose his access to classified information may end up disappointed. Kushner initially omitted contacts with foreign officials on his security clearance application form, known Kelly increasingly isolated as Porter scandal rages on.

Calls for Kushner to lose his security clearance have mounted as congressional investigators probe whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation — run by the president’s son-in-law

“We should — and in the future, must — do better,” Mr. Kelly said in his memo last week.

The questions surrounding Mr. Kushner’s clearance are particularly acute because of the possibility that his extensive contacts with foreign actors — including travel, meetings with leaders overseas and multiple business ventures — might be relevant to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Kushner initially failed to disclose scores of those contacts on the standard form required for all prospective government officials, and has since amended his submission, substantially delaying his background check.

That meant that his background information was not submitted in its entirety until June, after the June 1 cutoff that Mr. Kelly set in his memo.

Under the new policy, anyone holding interim clearance to see top secret or sensitive compartmented information whose background investigation had been pending since then is to be stripped of that access by Friday. Even if Mr. Kushner was not in that initial group, the document suggested that his status would soon be reviewed, and that his access going forward would be subject entirely to Mr. Kelly’s discretion.

“Similar reviews will occur monthly for long-outstanding adjudications,” Mr. Kelly wrote. The new rules, he said, would “limit access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status absent explicit chief of staff’s office approval, which would be granted only in the most compelling circumstances.”

White House: Kushner will stay despite losing top-secret clearance .
The White House said Tuesday that Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, will remain in his role despite having lost his top-secret security clearance. Load Error "He's doing a great job on behalf of the president and he is going to continue in his role," White House spokesman Raj Shah said on CNN.The White House is seeking to tamp down speculation that Kushner's position is in jeopardy after his clearance was downgraded as part of chief of staff John Kelly's push to restrict access to classified information among members of the administration.

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