Way back in ancient history, which during the Trump Times means May of this year, we learned Jared Kushner had finally been granted his security clearance, so he could once again be all up in presidential business. It was a pretty big deal, especially to people (Jared Kushner and whoever thinks he's a great guy, so like ten people) who wanted to say, see, he can't be a target of any investigations now, so it's time to end all the investigations. Ah, but it turns out the security clearance Kushner received was merely "Top Secret," the Washington Post reports, which means Kushner still has to leave the room when the really good stuff comes up. Lord only knows what sort of hot investment opportunities he could be missing out on!

WaPo says "two people familiar with his access" confirmed Kushner still didn't have clearance to see "sensitive compartmented information," aka SCI, for which he would have to get approval from the CIA. SCI classification, the sources said, usually involves "US intelligence sources and surveillance methods" that could possibly put lives at risk if it leaked, or if, let's say, someone like the "president" decided to blab it to visiting Russian officials to show off what a smart, well-informed guy he is.

And why does that matter? For one thing, it means Kushner hasn't been allowed to see parts of the super-classified President's Daily Brief, which often touches on intelligence stuff around the world and which Donald Trump routinely ignores, except for the parts telling him how great he is. With Jared out of the loop, that could mean nobody's actually reading the PDB, an attractive-seeming option, but someone in charge maybe ought to know stuff.

The other reason it matters: Maybe the CIA doesn't trust Jared, for some reason, like a reason of "he maybe gave all the intel to a Saudi prince who used that intel to kill and torture some folks." That would be a good reason not to trust him, we bet.

Kushner's lack of SCI access suggests that the CIA has not signed off on his receiving that level of intelligence, security experts said. The White House security office has authority to independently grant a "top secret" clearance after reviewing a staffer's FBI background investigation.

So Kushner can get in-house clearance, but those who have the most secretest stuff aren't yet ready to sign off on him. WaPo very responsibly notes the reasons he hasn't met that higher standard "are unclear," but of course the piece mentions the Mueller investigation plus Jared's finances and contacts with all sorts of shady foreign types.

Not surprisingly, Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell insisted Jared has just the right level of clearance for the very important work he has to do, whatever it is. He wouldn't confirm what exactly that clearance is, because none of your business, but it was all through proper channels, got it?

"After a review done in the normal course by career officials, Mr. Kushner was given his permanent White House clearances in May, and has access to all the materials and information he needs to do the domestic and international work the president has asked him to do," Lowell said.

For some reason, outside security experts seemed a bit less rosy about the prospects of a not-fully-informed Kushner being able to bring peace to the Middle East and smooth over all the hurt feelings of foreign leaders Trump has screamed at:

"I think it would severely hamper his ability to do his job," said Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer and security clearance expert. "

Of course it's an impediment," said Leslie McAdoo Gordon, another security clearance lawyer and expert. "Whether practically it is hampering him, it's hard to say in each case. In extreme cases, the president can override things and say, 'I want him here for this meeting.' " As president, Trump has the authority to declassify information.

It's definitely a comedown from Kushner's first year in the White House, when he and many others coasted along with an interim security clearance forever, although WaPo notes such interim clearances typically only last for about three months. Obviously, that simply means Jared is so important that he deserved a year's worth of slack, at least until the press started making a stink about it and we learned a whole bunch of foreign nations were gleefully discussing how they could manipulate Kushner to their advantage.

Mark Zaid offered one last pithy metaphor about Kushner's ability to do his job without the SCI clearance:

"I could go play softball without my glove, but I would be hampered and not performing my best as an outfielder," Zaid said, adding that trying to negotiate Middle East peace would be extremely difficult without the access.

At least when Jared fails to bring peace to the Middle East, he can properly blame the Deep State.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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