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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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.”

 

Blake Neff

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Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


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Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.