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International

Whistleblower Reveals Irregularities in White House Security Clearances

April 02, 2019 07:07 AM

COURTESY ET  APRIL 2

Whistleblower Reveals Irregularities in White House Security Clearances
Says 25 security clearance denials were reversed during Trump administration
Washington:

A whistleblower working inside the White House has told a House committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees, the committee’s Democratic staff said on Monday.


The whistleblower, Tricia Newbold, a manager in the White House’s Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in a private interview last month that the 25 individuals included two current senior White House officials, in addition to contractors and other employees working for the office of the president, the staff said in a memo it released publicly.

The memo does not identify any of 25 individuals referenced by Newbold. The New York Times reported in February that President Trump had personally ordered his chief of staff, John Kelly, to grant a clearance last year to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser. Kelly had recorded Trump’s direction to him in a memo, according to several people familiar with its contents. Trump had denied playing a role in an interview with The Times in the Oval Office a month earlier. Kelly left the White House at the end of last year.

Newbold told the committee’s staff members that the clearance applications had been denied for a variety of reasons, including “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” the memo said. The denials by the career employees were overturned, she said, by more-senior officials who did not follow the procedures designed to mitigate security risks.

Newbold, who has worked in the White House for 18 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, said she chose to speak to the Oversight Committee after attempts to raise concerns with her superiors and the White House counsel went nowhere, according to the committee staff ’s account.

 
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