Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr jared kushner...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

This week will be an especially interesting and determinative week in the White House. According to the memo John Kelly issued on Friday saying that all interim top secret clearances will be revoked by February 23, Jared Kushner’s life is about to change dramatically. One person who will be glad to see that is Don McGahn, whose office is bottle necked with interim clearances and Kushner has been gumming up the works. Washington Post:

White House Counsel Donald McGahn and other Trump administration officials have been so vexed by Jared Kushner’s months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems, several people familiar with the matter said. […]

Those in McGahn’s office, people familiar with the matter said, feel they cannot take action on other people whose background checks have dragged on because they did not take similar steps with Kushner. […]

McGahn and Kushner have clashed repeatedly on a number of topics, though Kushner’s lack of a clearance has been particularly irksome for the White House’s top lawyer and other administration officials in recent months, people familiar with the matter said.

Simply put, Kushner is down to the wire. He needs to get his clearance approved by Friday and so far nobody knowledgeable believes that he can do it. Kelly’s overhaul of the security clearance process is taking him out of the game.

White House officials have privately discussed concerns that Kushner’s clearance faces obstacles, according to people familiar with internal conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private talks. Among the potential problems: repeated amendments that he had to make to a form detailing his contacts with foreign officials. Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future, The Washington Post reported last week.

In the meantime, Kushner has maintained an interim clearance that gives him access to top-secret and sensitive compartmented information — a rare level of access to hold for a long period of time, experts said. His elite position has allowed him to meet with foreign officials around the world and read the classified intelligence prepared daily for the president.

A senior administration official with knowledge of Kelly’s thinking said that the chief of staff has been frustrated with Kushner’s high level of access without a final clearance and that he was aware the new policies announced Friday could jeopardize Kushner’s ability to carry out his duties in the West Wing. The move puts a “bull’s eye” on Kushner, the official said.

Any way you look at it, things do not look bright for Kushner’s future.  The fact that he has requested more classified information than any other White House staffer has not gone unnoticed and coupled with the fact that he has only an interim clearance and after amending his application three times still cannot get all the facts straight does not bode well.

Experts said it is rare to have such a high level of interim security clearance for such a long period of time. It is particularly striking access for someone like Kushner, who has never served in government and has a complex history of financial transactions, business ownership and contacts and dealings with foreigners.

Investigators scrutinize those activities to determine whether a person could be subject to influence or blackmail by a foreign government and to judge whether the person can be trusted to guard classified information.

Ordinarily, experts said, the failure to completely disclose all contacts would jeopardize an applicant’s chances of obtaining final clearance.

Kushner is not exactly forthcoming. He not only attempted to set up a back channel with the Kremlin, he tried to sell nuclear reactors to the Saudis. He is the “senior administration official” whom Michael Flynn referenced in his guilty plea. This is not somebody who should be representing America as a senior presidential adviser.  He’s already been in the job too long and it’s time to throw the bum out.


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