Kelly will make final decision on Kushner's security clearance

24 February, 2018, 11:45 | Author: Homer Porter
  • Neera Tanden president of the Center for American Progress speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. A major liberal policy group is raising the ante on the health care debate with a new plan

President Donald Trump on Friday said that White House chief of staff John Kelly will ultimately "make that call" regarding whether to waive or revoke Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner's interim security clearance. But Vanity Fair says that by issuing a red line, Kelly has pulled off a "political masterstroke" by training more spotlight on the president's ethics, which will endure whether he stays or goes.

"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", Kelly said in a statement.

"That'll be up to General Kelly", Trump told reporters during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Kelly also wrote that he would be curtailing "access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status" unless he will grant 'only in the most compelling circumstances'.

The overhaul follows a scandal in which White House staff secretary Rob Porter was allowed to handle classified information under an interim security clearance despite multiple domestic violence allegations. "I think he's been treated very unfairly". Most prominent among them is Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, who has had access to some of the nation's most sensitive material for the past year while waiting for his background investigation to be completed.

Porter, whose job gave him constant access to the most sensitive of documents, had been accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

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"To do this particular job without a security clearance is extraordinarily hard; just by definition, you're coming into contact with classified information every single day, and much of the material the U.S. team generates is classified material", one former senior USA official told The Jerusalem Post.

"We inherited a system that's broken".

The White House has so far refused to clarify why Kushner is operating under an interim clearance. With that designation, he has been able to attend classified briefings, get access to the president's daily intelligence report and issue requests for information to the intelligence community.

"I will let Gen. Kelly make that decision", he added.

Trump defended his elder daughter's husband on Friday, saying that 'Jared's done an outstanding job.

But earlier this week, White House officials said that crackdown won't affect Kushner or the work he's doing, according to a USA Today report that noted Kushner has had to amend a national security questionnaire after he failed to disclose contacts with Russian nationals and others. "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", Kelly said.

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