Kushner, other White House aides lose security clearance
Iran Press TV
Wed Feb 28, 2018 06:08AM
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner has been stripped of his top security clearance, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The move, which will have profound implications for the US administration, will prevent Kushner from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had unfettered access, Politico reported.
The two sources, who confirmed the decision Tuesday, also said that all White House aides operating on the highest-level interim clearances received a memo saying that their clearances would be downgraded.
The February 16 memo states that the aides, previously working on "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" interim clearances saw their access changed to "secret," meaning they now have access to far fewer government secrets.
This comes after chief of staff John Kelly previously stipulated new changes to the security clearance system.
Kelly and other top White House aides are currently grappling with the fallout of a scandal involving former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, which disclosed that dozens of White House aides had yet to receive permanent clearances but nonetheless could access some of the national deepest secrets.
In a statement, Kushner's attorney Abbe Lowell wrote, "Mr. Kushner has done more than what is expected of him in this process."
"Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner's level whose process is delayed," Lowell wrote. "No concerns were raised about Mr. Kushner's application. As General Kelly himself said, the new clearance policy will not affect Mr. Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the President."
Trump, who has the ability to grant Kushner a permanent clearance, said Friday that any decision about whether he can be exempted would depend on Kelly.
"I will let General Kelly make that decision," Trump told reporters. "I have no doubt he'll make the right decision."
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment on Kushner's clearance status.
"We actually haven't commented on Jared's issue indicated, but we have commented on his ability to do his job. Which, he's a valued member of the team and he will continue to do the important work that he's been doing since he's started in the administration," Sanders said at a briefing on Tuesday.
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