Chief Of Staff Kelly Wants New White House Security Clearance Rules

by Garry Watts February 18, 2018, 3:08
Chief Of Staff Kelly Wants New White House Security Clearance Rules

White House chief of staff John Kelly, under fire over the White House's handling of domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide, ordered an overhaul of the security clearance process for current and incoming top administration officials.

The Washington Post reports that Kushner, whose portfolio encompasses issues ranging from the Middle East peace process to modernizing the federal government's use of technology, has put in more requests for USA intelligence information than any White House staffer not working for the National Security Council.

Kelly's memo comes just over a week after White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned after allegations of domestic abuse against him became public.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cordish said he had never planned to remain with the administration for more than a year, and he will return to his family's real estate company.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reads documents during a meeting between President Trump and congressional members in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Feb. 13, 2018. "The American people deserve a White House staff that meets the highest standards and that has been carefully vetted - especially those who work closely with the president or handle sensitive national security information".

Kelly added, "We should-and in the future, must-do better".

An FBI official would then verbally brief the White House counsel on "significantly derogatory information" discovered during its investigation.

For any future approved interim clearances, only grant a temporary clearance for 180 days, with an option to extend that 90 days, absent any "derogatory information".

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"It also discontinues interim Top Secret or SCI-level (Sensitive Compartmented Information") clearances that have been pending since before June 2017 and limits access to highly-classified information for individuals with interim clearance.

The paper reported Saturday that Kushner requests more classified documents than nearly anyone on Trump's staff. He also requested "status reports" on pending background investigations "at least once a month".

Beyond addressing processes that he suggested were at fault for allowing Porter to remain as a senior aide to the President, Kelly said he also plans to work with the attorney general, Federal Bureau of Investigation director, director of national intelligence, defense secretary and CIA director to "streamline, harmonize and modernize standards across the executive branch" - citing a larger problem. That has eroded in a week's time, as accounts about the handling of the Porter matter continue to shift and some aides came to believe Kelly lied to save face and save his job.

For months, Kelly - with help from Porter - had established a semblance of stability in a White House often rattled by an unpredictable president.

But the president's righthand man said he has already put some reforms in motion.

"Now is the time to take a hard look at the way the White House processes clearance requests", Kelly wrote in the memo. Going forward, I am directing that those who have a need to know the contents of BIs for personnel or national security reasons - to include me or a designee in the Chief of Staff's Office - be memorialized. Formalize processes between the White House Counsel's Office and the PSO regarding suitability and clearance reviews.

The memo acknowledged "shortcomings" in the current "inherited" clearance processes that were exposed through "recent events".

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