Kushner Seeks More Classified Information Than Any Other Official

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr

Trump's son-in-law maintains access to highly classified intelligence despite lacking permanent security clearance.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law maintains access to highly classified intelligence despite lacking a permanent security clearance to do so. Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, is still operating with an interim security clearance, well into Trump's second year in office.

And according to the Washington Post, Kushner makes more use of that clearance than anyone else outside of the National Security Council:

[A]part from staff on the National Security Council, he issues more requests for information to the intelligence community than any White House employee, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Kushner, whose intricate history of business and financial dealings with foreigners might be holding up permanent clearance, also has no previous experience in government, making his long-term temporary clearance all the more curious:

Most interim clearances are granted by the Defense Department, where they expire after 12 months, said Evan Lesser, president and founder of ClearanceJobs.com, which helps place cleared employees in government positions. Typically, other agencies follow that policy. “It’s very unusual” to have an interim clearance for longer than one year, [Evan Lesser, president and founder of ClearanceJobs.com, which helps place cleared employees in government positions] said.

It is possible that Kushner could lose his ability to access highly classified information, including the President's Daily Brief, when new rules are implemented by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly this week - a move sparked by scrutiny over former staff secretary Rob Porter's clearance status in spite of known domestic abuse allegations.

A senior administration official with knowledge of Kelly’s thinking said that the chief of staff has been frustrated with Kushner’s high level of access without a final clearance and that he was aware the new policies announced Friday could jeopardize Kushner’s ability to carry out his duties in the West Wing. The move puts a “bull’s eye” on Kushner, the official said.

In the end, however, Kushner could be granted by Trump regardless:

But the White House’s adjudication guidelines are different from those of other government agencies and departments and give wide latitude for awarding clearances. Ultimately, the president can give clearance to anyone he wants.

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