Last year, a senior White House official did not receive a security clearance because of concerns surrounding “foreign influence, private business interests and personal conduct,” The Washington Post reports. According to people familiar with House Oversight Committee documents released this week and testimonies given to the Committee, the individual referred to as “Senior White House Official 1” in the documents is presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The recently released documents outlined the testimony of whistleblower Tricia Newbold who worked for the White House’s personnel security office. She claims that she and another employee believed that Kushner had “significant disqualifying factors” that made him too high of a security risk to receive a clearance.
According to Newbold, their decision was overruled by the career official who headed the office at the time, Carl Kline.
The new details revive questions about Kushner’s conflicts of interest with his access to government secrets. In 2018, President Trump instructed his then-chief of staff John F. Kelly to issue Kushner a top-secret security clearance, despite multiple objections raised by career intelligence officers.
“It’s a big deal,” said David Kris, who served as a senior Justice Department official during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
“The kinds of concerns that she mentioned are very serious,” he said. “Senior staff at the White House—and particularly relatives of the U.S. president—are incredibly attractive targets for our adversaries seeking to gather intelligence or exert covert influence.”
One of Kushner’s attorneys referred questions from reporters to the White House. The White House declined to comment yesterday.