Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman praised White House whistleblower Tricia Newbold for exposing wrongdoing that suggests "a crass corruption of the security-clearance process that placed national security second to political influence."
Writing in The Washington Post, Litman said, "A longtime security adviser’s account of rampant abuses in the security-clearance process at the Trump White House provides a case study of the importance of robust whistleblower protections to uncover illegal governmental practices."
"Newbold has worked in the White House’s personnel security office for more than 18 years, serving in both Republican and Democratic administrations, and rising to the top career position leading a team that adjudicates security clearances," Litman explained. "Her team’s job is to ensure compliance with a detailed web of regulations to protect both the integrity of the security-clearance process and, more important, to ensure that clearances do not go to people who present security risks to the United States."
Litman worried the White House was engaged in "raw political bullying" to approve security clearances for senior White House officials like Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
"If accurate, Newbold’s allegations suggest a crass corruption of the security-clearance process that placed national security second to political influence," he concluded. "According to Newbold, [Carl] Kline and others ignored legal procedures designed to safeguard U.S. security interests and engaged in raw political bullying to cow career employees trying to uphold the law."
Litman explained the threat to national security.
"As a consequence, dozens of individuals — including the two senior officials — may currently be vulnerable to blackmail by foreign powers or may otherwise present opportunities for our adversaries," he noted. "It is an issue of national security that should transcend partisan politics."
"It is a good thing for all of us that Newbold had the guts to come forward," Litman added.
Read the full column.