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Kelly Orders Overhaul to White House Security Clearance After Abuse Claims

Kelly Orders Overhaul to White House Security Clearance After Abuse Claims

The Washington Post reports that Kushner, whose portfolio encompasses issues ranging from the Middle East peace process to modernizing the federal government's use of technology, has put in more requests for US intelligence information than any White House staffer not working for the National Security Council.

"Since we are now past the one-year mark of this administration and the reduction in volume of new entrants now allows more significant formalization and reforms of the process", Kelly wrote, "now is the time to take a hard look at the way the White House processes clearance requests".

To be sure, there appear to be plenty of White House officials whose security clearance status remains in question.

Wray testified this week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation provided an update on Porter to the White House in November and closed its file in January. "Who else is now working at the White House following the completion of a background investigation without being able to obtain a permanent security clearance?" The memo also recommends that all Top Secret and SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearances that have been pending since last June be discontinued in a week.

And while members of the National Security Council reportedly request more intel than Kushner, there's reason to be anxious about security clearances among that group as well. Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, told The Associated Press this week that Kushner has been working on an interim clearance for more than a year as his background check was being conducted.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and one his closest advisers, shouldn't have access to classified information until he can pass a comprehensive background check.

Kelly sent a five-page document to national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy chief of staff for operations Joseph Hagin and Donald McGahn, counsel to the president. He said additional information was turned over to the White House this month, maintaining that proper protocols had been followed. "But recent events have exposed some remaining shortcomings".

You also testified yesterday that the F.B.I. completed a background investigation into White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter in late July, yet he remained in his position until last week. Porter faces allegations of spousal abuse from his two ex-wives.

As the CNN report pointed out, having staff members - particularly this number of staff members - without permanent clearance can hamper the administration's "ability to perform essential functions". His role as Senior Advisor to the President with a focus on brokering peace in the Middle East also give him access to highly sensitive and classified information.

Reed Cordish's departure comes as the White House has faced an exodus of high-level staff in recent weeks and a scandal over its handling of domestic abuse charges and security clearances. That has eroded in a week's time, as accounts about the handling of the Porter matter continue to shift and some aides came to believe Kelly lied to save face and save his job.

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