National Security

The White House Forced Dozens of Rejected Clearances

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We know that Trump and his former chief of staff John Kelly granted a security clearance to Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner even though career officials said he shouldn't have one, but a whisteblower tells us that Kushner is just one of many.

A whistleblower who spoke to the Democratically-controlled House Oversight Committee says the White House has granted clearances to over two dozen applicants who should have been rejected.

Ms. Newbold told the committee’s staff members that the clearance applications had been denied for a variety of reasons, including “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” the memo said. The denials by the career employees were overturned, she said, by more-senior officials who did not follow the procedures designed to mitigate security risks.

Ms. Newbold, who has worked in the White House for 18 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, said she chose to speak to the Oversight Committee after attempts to raise concerns with her superiors and the White House counsel went nowhere, according to the committee staff’s account.

"Foreign influence" certainly jumps out from the list of reasons why someone should not be granted a security clearance, but the other reasons listed -- from financial problems to criminal conduct -- can also make someone vulnerable to foreign influence and blackmail.

We don't know who these individuals are, but at least two of them have been described as "senior officials" which means someone who interacts with either Trump or members of his cabinet on a daily basis.

There is, of course, an inescapable irony that Trump himself may be the ultimate security risk who is under foreign influence, has conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and has engaged in criminal conduct.

If these are reasons to deny someone a security clearance, Trump probably shouldn't have been given the nuclear football.

  • Party of family values? Check.
    Party of fiscal responsibility? Check.
    Party of national security? Check.

    Boy, those Republicans sure are principled.

  • Badgerite

    When you read the actual wording of the Barr letter, it is quite apparent that his language has so many gaps and loopholes and “but, what ifs” in it that trump and anyone else could literally drive a semi through them.
    I mean really. The investigation “did not establish that the campaign reached an agreement with the Russian government”? Were they expecting a summit with the press called in to witness the signing of the “agreement”?
    To say that if junior was at that meeting, trump was well aware of everything that went on there is an understatement.
    These were the top people in the trump campaign meeting with Russians that were former KGB or had known contacts with the Russian government. They have to be joking with this ffffing bull crap. Jeff Session himself, as a member of the trump campaign, had private meetings with Kislyak who at that time was, indeed, an official of the Russian government.
    This was the same Jeff Sessions who professed under oath during his confirmation hearings that he knew of no contacts that the trump campaign had with Russia and certainly that he himself had had no contacts with any Russians. Jeff Sessions either has a very faulty memory or he was covering up what had been a wealth of contacts between the campaign and Russia via contacts with people often used as in this fashion by the Kremlin.
    No collusion? What is out there in the public domain already has established that. What is not out there is probably even more damning. Which is why they are trying their damnedest to try to bury the report that is the actual Mueller report vs
    ‘Iran Contra’ Bill’s version of the Mueller Report. Even that doesn’t “exonerate” anyone.
    Tell you what. The jury gets to decide for themselves. In this case, that would be the public. Let’s see the actual report.
    And certainly Congress has not only a right but an obligation to demand the entire, completely unredacted Mueller Report.
    We have elections for a reason. This is the reason. The public spoke pretty clearly in the mid terms. Not that the gop has ever cared to listen. But that is the principle that one would presume they take an oath to. Or do they take that oath with their fingers crossed behind their backs?

  • Nefercat

    I agree, trump, as the beholden asset of a foreign adversary, is at the top of the list of people who should not have security clearances. is at the top

  • Georgie
  • muselet

    Welcome back, Ashby.

    “I’m going to surround myself with only the best and most serious people.” –Donald Trump

    Well, to be fair, Trump never said what the people around him would be the best at doing.

    Joking aside (mostly), it’s not a good sign when people signing a contract with their local cable company undergo more thorough background checks than do people serving in the Executive Office of the President.

    On the bright side, Elijah Cummings has lost patience with the White House’s stalling and will shortly start issuing subpoenas.

    –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      Go, Elijah.

  • Draxiar

    How this can even be a thing is beyond me. Clearances like this should, perhaps, go through a committee or secondary confirmation process. At the very least if they fail the clearance the president, any president, shouldn’t have the authority to override the denial.

    Welcome back Ashby…we missed you!

    • Nefercat

      Well, don’t forget that this is the first time that the president*, who has the final authority to authorize clearances, is actively working for a foreign power, even at the expense of the US. The founders probably didn’t envision an actual traitor holding the presidency.

      • stacib23

        Or that any political party would sit quietly by as they watched this catastrophe unfold and not do a single, damn thing.

        And…welcome back Ashby. 😁