Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has such a low security clearance that all it would allow him to do is serve beans in the kitchen galley. He might not even be able to assist the White House calligrapher. Yet, he has headed off to meet with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto.
How can he do the job of serving as a top adviser to the president when he cannot access high-level morning briefings, conversations, and documents? Before Chief of Staff John Kelly downgraded Ivanka Trump’s husband’s security clearance, Kushner requested access to significantly more top-secret documents than any other person in the administration.
The problem of inappropriate security bubbled up when the media revealed the White House Secretary, Rob Porter, abused his two ex-wives. A former general, Kelly hid the information although Porter’s job was to funnel information into the president’s office, and that information was at the highest security level.
When the news hit, Porter’s girlfriend and Communications Director Hope Hicks, wrote the White House Statement announcing his departure. The White House secretary has denied the allegations.
Over 30 other top-level White House staff members have only obtained temporary security clearances. These include: Trump’s daughter Ivanka, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; and Communications Director Hope Hicks.
Kelly gave White House staffers a deadline that has already passed to obtain the security clearances needed to serve in their job titles. As a result, a number of them have been fired or reassigned. Even one of First Lady Melania Trump’s employees had to leave, according to ABC News sources.
There is another list of staffers who will be coming up for termination or reassignment. ABC News found that Kelly requested a list of remaining White House staffers still with security clearance issues. That list will send people through the traditional procedures, such as recommendations to determine whether the employee should be relieved, reassigned, or let go.
Sources told ABC News that the list included several other individuals with security clearance issues. These employees are likely lower level and could include people who work in the White House complex. They may not actually work in the close quarters of the West Wing.
The full breakdown of the list of individuals with pending security clearances was not yet available to the press. Kelly’s lengthy memo explained in detail all of his outlined changes in the security clearance process, hoping to prevent yet another disaster like the one that has been flooding White House staff in recent days.
The ensuing scandal called into question how security clearances were issued, and who in the White House was able to gain access to classified information without having the correct security clearance.
Since the Jared Kushner was stripped of his temporary, high-level security clearance and given a lower level clearance, it is possible that Trump will overrule Kelly’s decision. It is always the president’s prerogative. Of course, that might cause even more chaos in an already chaotic environment.
Featured Image Getty Images/Drew Angerer.