Washington: The senior White House official whose security clearance was rejected last year because of concerns about foreign influence, private business interests and personal conduct has been identified as President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the media reported.
Kushner was identified only as “senior White House official 1” in House Oversight Committee documents, released this week, describing the testimony of Tricia Newbold, a whistleblower in the White House’s personnel security office who said she and another career employee felt that Kushner had too many “significant disqualifying factors” to receive a clearance, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Their decision was overruled by Carl Kline, political appointee who then headed the office, according to Newbold’s interview with committee staff.
Newbold alleged 25 individuals were given clearances or access to national security information since 2018 despite concerns about foreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems or drug abuse.
The development comes after President Trump last May directed his then-chief of staff John Kelly to give Kushner a top-secret security clearance, that at one point also gave him access to some of the government’s most sensitive materials, despite concerns expressed by career intelligence officers.
The White House officials have declined to comment on the matter.
Kushner’s legal team issued a statement in February saying the “White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone”.
As President, Trump has the authority to grant such clearances. But congressional Democrats have raised questions about the risks that could be overlooked by such a decision.