Kushner Requests More Intel Than Any Non-NSC Employee at White House


A senior technology aide to President Donald Trump is stepping down, the latest in a growing list of top officials to depart a turbulent White House in recent days.

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.

Almost a year into President Donald Trump's administration, senior-level staffers - including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Rob Porter - remained on interim clearances even as other senior advisers were granted full security access, according to information obtained by CNN from a U.S. government official.

Porter resigned two weeks ago after his ex-wives came forward to say that he had abused them - allegations which the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered during Porter's background check and informed the White House about, yet somehow did not lead to the cancellation of his interim security clearance.

The chief of staff states that a "number of reforms have already been implemented", but does not offer a timeline of when some of these changes have been made, such as requiring all security clearances to be approved by his office and having the Personnel Security Office make a "suitability determination before being on-boarded and granted access to the White House complex".

"Now is the time to take a hard look at the way the White House processes clearance requests", Kelly wrote in the letter reviewed by UPI.

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Kelly outlined new, more direct communication regarding background checks and their results. Big names include Trump's social media director Dan Scavino, his assistant for strategic initiatives Christopher Lidell, top White House counsel Don McGahn, and deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

Kushner is one of more than 130 political appointees who reportedly have been unable to secure permanent security clearances since they started working for the White House and other parts of the Trump administration.

The memo said the FBI and Justice Department had offered increased cooperation and, going forward, all background investigations of top officers "should be flagged for the FBI at the outset and then hand-delivered to the White House Counsel personally upon completion".

Yet, 13 months later, Porter still had interim clearance as the authorities continued to evaluate what the White House now says are "credible" and "true" allegations of domestic abuse. He told the newspaper he never meant to work in the administration for more than a year.

In another nod to protocols that predated his tenure, Kelly noted that allegations of domestic abuse did not automatically result in a denied security clearance application.

Kelly said he wanted the derogatory information discovered in the FBI's background investigations to be reported within 48 hours of its discovery. 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.