Published: Wed, April 03, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Whistleblower: White House reversed security clearance denials

Whistleblower: White House reversed security clearance denials

Tricia Newbold, a White House Personnel Security Office employee, is alleging that the Trump White House overruled decisions on 25 security clearances that had been previously denied-a matter that Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is determined to investigate.

Those officials - including Ivanka Trump and Kushner - received security clearances despite "disqualifying issues" in their backgrounds, such as concerns about foreign influence, drug use and criminal conduct.

But Cummings has requested information relating to former and current White House officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Kushner.

"I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security", Cummings's letter quoted Newbold as telling his committee.

A White House whistleblower told lawmakers that more than two dozen denials for security clearances have been overturned during the Trump administration, calling Congress her "last hope" for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation's secrets exposed.

Ms Newbold said she chose to speak to the panel after repeated attempts to share her concerns with superiors were ignored, adding that it was her "last hope to really bring the integrity back to our office", according to a committee-released transcript of her interview on Monday.

Republican members of the House Oversight Committee on Monday afternoon responded to the concerns of a security clearance whistleblower by saying she testified that "only 4-5" of the "at least 25 people" mentioned posed potentially "very serious" problems.

The subpoena will be for the deposition of Carl Kline, who served as the White House personnel security director and supervised Newbold.

Two sources familiar with the information obtained by the Oversight Committee said two of those three senior officials were Ms Trump and her husband Mr Kushner.

As for the press release Cummings sent on Monday, Jordan added, it was "cherry picked" to try and slander the White House.

Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House committee, issued a statement calling the letter a "partisan attack" that was "an excuse to go fishing through the personal files of dedicated public servants".

"The interview of Ms Newbold was conducted on a Saturday morning at 8:30am and Republicans on the committee were not informed of the interview's topic or witness until 3:30pm the day before, leaving little to no time to prepare". This, she said, prevents the White House from being able to assess whether applicants "could be susceptible to blackmail, depending on their debts". That clearance was also granted.

First, she alleges that there were 25 clearances given to officials, against the recommendations of her and her colleagues.

White House adviser Jared Kushner is recognized by President Trump during a celebration for recently passed prison reform legislation at the White House on Monday.

Newbold said that when she returned to work in February, she was cut out of the security clearance process and removed from a supervisory responsibility.

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