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Politics Kushner Resists Losing Access as Kelly Tackles Security Clearance Issues

05:10  21 february  2018
05:10  21 february  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

Government watchdog group files complaint to revoke Kushner security clearance

  Government watchdog group files complaint to revoke Kushner security clearance The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint on Thursday calling on the White House to revoke Jared Kushner's security clearance. Kushner, a senior White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, has been operating on a temporary security clearance for more than a year.The complaint, addressed to chief of staff John Kelly, asks that Kushner's temporary clearance be revoked until he passes the background check and receives full clearance."Mr. Kushner's access to classified information, even on a temporary basis, appears to represent a security threat," the group wrote in the complaint.

Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

Jared Kushner , President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F. Kelly , the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets, according to

a group of people standing around a table: Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, officials say. © Tom Brenner/The New York Times Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, officials say.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets, according to White House officials and others briefed on the matter.

White House says Trump son-in-law Kushner can do job without security clearance

  White House says Trump son-in-law Kushner can do job without security clearance U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can continue in his role as a senior White House adviser even if he does not obtain a security clearance, the White House said on Tuesday. Kushner has been operating under a temporary clearance for the past year while the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts a background investigation. Under an order issued on Friday by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Kushner will lose the temporary clearance in less than a week.

Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

Mr. Kushner is one of dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances because of issues raised by the F.B.I. during their background checks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the clearances. The practice has drawn added scrutiny because of Rob Porter, the former staff secretary who resigned under pressure this month after domestic abuse allegations against him became public.

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Mr. Porter’s post entailed handling and reviewing the flow of documents to and from the president, which routinely includes highly classified material. He had been allowed to continue in the job for more than a year with a stopgap clearance even though the F.B.I. had informed the White House of the damaging accusations against him.

WH trying to keep Kushner involved on sensitive issues without Trump's intervention

  WH trying to keep Kushner involved on sensitive issues without Trump's intervention The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information.The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo a week ago declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information if their background investigation has been pending since before last June — a category Kushner falls into.

Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner , President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F.

Mr. Kushner’s clearance has afforded him access to closely guarded information, including the presidential daily brief, the intelligence summary Mr. Trump receives every day, but it has not been made permanent, and his background investigation is still pending after 13 months serving in Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

Now Mr. Kelly, his job at risk and his reputation as an enforcer of order and discipline tarnished by the scandal, is working to revamp the security clearance process, starting with an effort to strip officials who have interim clearances of their high-level access. In a memo issued on Friday, Mr. Kelly said he would revoke top clearances for anyone whose background check had been pending since June 1 or earlier, and review such clearances every month thereafter.

Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access, the officials said. In the talks, the officials say, Mr. Kushner has insisted that he maintain his current level of access, including the ability to review the daily intelligence briefing when he sees fit.

Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance

  Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance President Donald Trump said Friday he will not make the decision on whether to let Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, keep his temporary security clearance, telling reporters at the White House that he will let chief of staff John Kelly make the decision. "That will be up to General Kelly. General Kelly respects Jared a lot and General Kelly will make that call," Trump said at a news conference. "I won't make that call. I will let the general, who is right here, make that call. Jared is doing some very important things for our country. He gets paid zero.

Mr. Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

Kushner , frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access , the officials said.

But Mr. Kelly, who has been privately dismissive of Mr. Kushner since taking the post of chief of staff but has rarely taken him on directly, has made no guarantees, saying only that the president’s son-in-law will still have all the access he needs to do his job under the new system.

“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,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement the White House released on Tuesday in which he refused to address Mr. Kushner’s security clearance or elaborate on his memo.

“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda,” Mr. Kelly said of Mr. Kushner. “There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise.”

It is unclear why Mr. Kushner would want or need to review highly classified information. His current portfolio — which includes acting as an intermediary with Mexico, trying to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, participating in an economic dialogue with China and working on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement — seems unlikely to involve major intelligence or national security secrets. But Mr. Kushner, by dint of his relationship with Mr. Trump, has wide-ranging access to the president and the information that he sees, and does not want to surrender it.

Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets

  Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) WASHINGTON — The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded, significantly reducing his access to classified information, according to two people informed of the decision.Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" level for more than a year.

Source: MSN/The Hill. Jared Kushner , President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F. Kelly , the White House Okay, so it seems that Kushner is not quite so cool about losing his clearance .

The fact that the White House chief of staff would take the step of publicly denying that a policy change would harm the president’s son-in-law pointed up the tension in the West Wing after the Porter episode, particularly between Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, who had been close allies of Mr. Porter, and Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have been critical of Mr. Kelly in conversations with the president, who spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. surveying people about whether he should fire his chief of staff. Since Mr. Porter’s departure, one official said, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have told people around the White House that they have been vocal in their attempts to defend Mr. Kelly but are being treated unfairly in return.

One person familiar with Mr. Kushner’s thinking, who insisted on anonymity to describe it, denied that he felt personally targeted by Mr. Kelly or was agitating to have him removed. Another White House official denied that Mr. Kushner had ever raised the issue of the intelligence summary in his discussions with Mr. Kelly over his clearance.

But the memo, deliberately or otherwise, has shone an unflattering light on Mr. Kushner, raising questions about whether he can be effective in his post and how much authority he has. That debate threatens to complicate what Mr. Kelly has acknowledged is a long-overdue effort inside the White House to get a handle on the clearance process, a national security imperative over which top officials appear to have placed little priority after Mr. Trump took office.

From top secret to secret: What Kushner's downgrade means

  From top secret to secret: What Kushner's downgrade means President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was among those White House officials to see their security clearances downgraded, a potentially significant setback for a senior White House adviser. The change came as sources told CNN that White House chief of staff John Kelly moved to downgrade temporary clearances for top White House staffers as concerns about overreliance on interim security clearances boiled over after staff secretary Rob Porter's resignation following domestic abuse allegations earlier this month. Porter has denied the allegations.

Kushner , who is reportedly resisting Kelly ’s efforts, does not have a full security clearance due to lingering issues with his FBI background check. According to The New York Times, Kushner believes that Kelly “has targeted him personally with the directive.”

Jared Kushner , frustrated about the issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access .

“We should — and in the future, must — do better,” Mr. Kelly said in his memo last week.

The questions surrounding Mr. Kushner’s clearance are particularly acute because of the possibility that his extensive contacts with foreign actors — including travel, meetings with leaders overseas and multiple business ventures — might be relevant to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Kushner initially failed to disclose scores of those contacts on the standard form required for all prospective government officials, and has since amended his submission, substantially delaying his background check.

That meant that his background information was not submitted in its entirety until June, after the June 1 cutoff that Mr. Kelly set in his memo.

Under the new policy, anyone holding interim clearance to see top secret or sensitive compartmented information whose background investigation had been pending since then is to be stripped of that access by Friday. Even if Mr. Kushner was not in that initial group, the document suggested that his status would soon be reviewed, and that his access going forward would be subject entirely to Mr. Kelly’s discretion.

“Similar reviews will occur monthly for long-outstanding adjudications,” Mr. Kelly wrote. The new rules, he said, would “limit access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status absent explicit chief of staff’s office approval, which would be granted only in the most compelling circumstances.”

Kelly: 'We didn't cover ourselves with glory' on Rob Porter abuse allegations .
White House chief of staff John Kelly said the administration handled the domestic abuse allegations of aide Rob Porter poorlyKelly said he only knew of claims of emotional abuse when he accepted Porter’s resignation, and sent out a statement praising Porter’s professionalism.

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