With recent denials by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s attorney that his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, influenced his security clearance process, it is worth recalling that Kushner initially failed to disclose more than 100 foreign contacts on his security clearance application.
Reported by The New York Times in 2017, Kushner’s application originally left out his attendance at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by Donald Trump, Jr. and with the intent of obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton.
At the time of the Times report, Kushner had “supplemented the list of foreign contacts three times, adding more than 100 names.”
Kushner’s lack of transparency regarding his foreign contacts was one of several concerns raised by White House security specialists charged with approving administration officials for secret and top-secret clearances, according to NBC News.
Carl Kline, director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President, reportedly overrode those officials’ concerns to approve Kushner’s top-secret clearance.
But the presidential son-in-law was also seeking an even higher clearance — one that would grant him access to "sensitive compartmented information," or SCI — and faced scrutiny by the CIA, which approves such applications.
There, too, Kushner reportedly ran into issues. The CIA officers charged with making such decisions were hesitant to approve his application, with one official calling “over to the White House security division, wondering how Kushner got even a top-secret clearance,” sources told NBC News.
Though sources told the outlet that Kushner was not approved for SCI clearance, Trump could have opted to override the rules, as the president has such power.
Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, indicated in a statement that the president’s son-in-law obtained his security clearance through the usual process and “without pressure from anyone.”