wnol.info March 24 2018

Trump says Kushner's clearance in Kelly's hands

March 24 2018, 07:49 | Irvin Gilbert

In our opinion: The government must streamline security clearance processes

White House: Security Clearance Crackdown Won't Affect Kushner's Job

Porter, naturally, had his security clearance held up because of his allegedly violent past, but with Chief of Staff John Kelly instituting a new policy that limits the information that those with interim clearances can receive, many have wondered about special advisor Jared Kushner.

"The new policy announced by General Kelly will not affect Mr. Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president", Lowell said last week.

The White House's handling of security clearances has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had worked for more than a year with only interim clearance. Kushner, whose foreign affairs portfolio includes forging peace in the Middle East, has come under heavy scrutiny for being a top consumer of classified information that typically requires permanent clearance.

Kushner has been operating under an interim security clearance for the past year while his financial background was investigated, and he has yet to be cleared for a full clearance.

That would theoretically affect access for Kushner, who for the past year has read the president's daily intelligence brief on a regular basis.

During a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump responded to a question about Kushner's clearance with praise for his daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as Kushner's "outstanding" work. The White House has repeatedly changed its timeline about who knew what and when about the allegations, and the scandal has weakened Kelly's standing, both among staffers and the president.

A week ago Kelly set a Friday deadline for resolving the cases of Kushner and dozens of administration officials like him. Two people said the deputy attorney general told McGahn the Justice Department had obtained important new information, suggesting it could be an obstacle to his clearance process.

Trump expressed frustration with the federal government's process for security clearances, calling it a "broken system and it shouldn't take this long". "She said, 'Dad, i want to go to Washington". I will let the general, who is right here, make that call.

As someone who meets regularly with foreign officials and reads classified intelligence, Kushner would typically have a fast-tracked background investigation, security-clearance experts said.

Inside the White House, officials have discussed concerns that the delay in Kushner's clearance is partly a result of repeated updates he made to a form detailing his contacts with foreign officials. He also said that peace between the Palestinians and Israel is the toughest deal of any deal there is the hardest deal to make of any kind is between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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