National Security

The White House Forced Dozens of Rejected Clearances

Written by SK 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.