Embattled senior White House advisor Jared Kushner’s economic troubles may be one of the red flags holding up security clearance for President Donald Trump’s son in law, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur explained on Tuesday.
“Nearly one year into the Trump administration and NBC News has learned 30 to 40 White House personnel lack permanent security clearances,” Tur reported. “One of those folks was Rob Porter. Another, according to the Washington Post is Jared Kushner. Porter is gone, but Kushner still has access to classified intelligence, including the Presidential Daily Briefing.”
“The Director of National Intelligence believes that needs to change,” Tur noted, playing a clip of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifying.
“Ken, first to you, what do you make of the warning from DNI Coates?” Tur asked NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian.
“Look, what he just said there is not being followed by this White House,” he replied. “I think we have two problems: there’s a bureaucratic problem where just in general, it takes too long for people to get a security clearance. It shouldn’t take a year.”
“But secondly, we also have a problem with the president, who apparently is ignoring the signals that are being send to him by his own FBI about the suitability of certain people for high clearance,” Dilanian continued.
“And in the case of Jared Kushner, my sources tell me it is unprecedented for someone to be seeing the Presidential Daily Brief who has not received a full security clearance,” he said. “This is a document that has the nation’s deepest secrets, including covert operation and top-level intelligence, NSA eavesdropping of foreign leaders, and to have someone looking at that document who hasn’t been fully cleared, who hasn’t been signed off on by the FBI, is unprecedented and it’s a decision directly made by Donald Trump, Katy,” Dilanian continued.
“There are a bunch of people, and Jared Kushner certainly appears to be one of them, who would not be able to get a security clearance in the context of work for any of these agencies, where people don’t really start work, generally, until the clearance comes through,” Lawfare editor in chief Benjamin Wittes noted.
Wittes noted staffers working on temporary clearances, “despite in some cases, some pretty obviously — if not disqualifying, at least disqualification-raising background concerns.”
“This is the kind of thing that, you know, shocks and terrifies intelligence professionals,” he warned.
“It’s a $1.2 billion mortgage, it’s due by February 2019,” Tur noted.