Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Two White House security clearance specialists rejected President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s applications out of concerns that he was potentially susceptible to foreign influence — only to be overruled by Carl Kline, an official installed as the head of personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President, according to a new report from NBC News.
Questions about Kushner’s security clearance have hung over the top aide to the president for about a year, as previous reports had found that he had persisted on a provisional security clearance for months, much longer than is typical, while questions were raised about his application.
Eventually, it was announced that Kushner has obtained an official security clearance — but how that came to pass wasn’t revealed until now.
NBC News also reports that Kline didn’t just provide an unusual workaround for Kushner. He was “one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information,” two anonymous sources told the outlet.
“They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline’s arrival,” it added.
Security clearances are meant to ensure that top officials are free from potential foreign influence or susceptibility to blackmail.
The Democrat-led House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday that it was launching an investigation into the administration’s security clearances, including Kushner’s.
“It takes some pretty bad stuff to be denied a clearance,” said Daniel Jacobson, a former White House lawyer under President Barack Obama. “That multiple career officials recommended denying his clearance is damning. They would not do that lightly for someone of Kushner’s stature and position.”