Kushner unwilling to give up his security clearance amidst John Kelly's White House crackdown
Certain special clearances are given to certain top aides as a stopgap measure when their applications are held up as the FBI works through their background check issues.
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and the White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is reportedly not willing to forego his provisional security clearance which allows him access to highly classified information, reports state.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Kushner's current duties possibly does not even require him to view or be abread of top-secret information related to the nation.
Reports state that Kushner has resisted the White House chief of staff John Kelly's efforts to overhaul such interim clearances. These special clearances are given to certain aides as a stopgap measure when their applications are held up as the FBI works through their background check issues.
The Times reported that Kushner has not been given a permanent security clearance because of the mistakes he made on his forms and also due to his financial holdings complexities.
The security clearance of Trump's White House team came under scrutiny after one of the Republican president's top aides, Rob Porter, resigned from his position earlier this month after allegations of domestic violence from two of his former wives were reported by the media.
Although the White House attempted to defend itself by saying it was not aware of the allegations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Christopher Wray, however, said that the White House was warned about Porter weeks before domestic abuse allegations against him surfaced in public.
In the wake of the Rob Porter incident, Kelly released a memo last Friday saying he would revamp such interim clearances awarded to top aides.
"We should ― and, in the future, must ― do better," Kelly wrote about the overhaul, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
Kushner, despite not having an official security clearance, enjoys the privilege of accessing highly classified information, including the president's daily presidential briefings. Times, however, noted that his official duties include managing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and revising the North American Free Trade Agreement. These duties reportedly do not require a top-level clearance for an aide.
The Times on Tuesday reported stating that Kushner is disconcerted by Kelly's stance and he feels personally targeted by the memo released by the chief of staff, according to people familiar with the situation inside the White House.
The White House, however, addressed queries about Kushner's future clearance on Tuesday from reporters and said that the top aide's work would not be affected because of the security clearance overhaul.
"I can tell you that no decision within the memo will impact anything that Jared Kushner is working on," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "In terms of specifics on security clearance, I can’t get into that."
Kelly also released a statement about Kushner later on Tuesday, saying: "As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico."
"Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise," he added.
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