Jared Kushner's Top-Secret Clearance Very Legal, Very Cool! Said Not FBI Or CIA
Remember a couple days ago when Wonkette Legislative Badass Elijah Cummings told the White House to hand over alllll their shit on security clearances? Turns out, Oversight Chairman Cummings may have known where the bodies were buried before he handed White House Counsel Pat Cipollone a shovel and told him to start digging. NBC reports:
Jared Kushner's application for a top-secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
OH, WE ARE SHOOK! You mean the guy who had to amend his security disclosure 40 times, and had extensive contacts with Russians including with representatives of a sanctioned bank, and literally asked for a back channel with the Russian government during the transition, and whose entire family business was about to go under until they mysteriously found a buyer last year, might be a security risk? YA THINK?
Guess that's why the feds picked up intercepts of Mexico, Israel, China, and the United Arab Emirates all talking about the ways they could manipulate the Clown Prince. Ooops, that's FAKE NEWS. "Clown Prince" is what the Saudis call young Jared behind his back while they're promising him not to bonesaw any more journalists if he'll just let them bring "peace" to the Middle East by slaughtering half of Yemen. But we digress.
Kushner's application for security clearance was originally declined because of "questions about his family's business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign." He'd sought not only "Top Secret" access, but even the ability to view "sensitive compartmented information" known as SCI. This level of classification refers to material that would cause "exceptionally grave damage" if disclosed, and can only be granted by the CIA -- or the president, who can just barf it out in a secret meeting with the Russian ambassador. The CIA took one look at Kushner's SCI application and freaked out, calling over to the White House to suss out how he even got the lower level clearance. In theory Jared's not allowed to see SCI info, but The Old Fool is an original declassification authority, which means he can blab our secrets to anyone he likes. THIS IS FINE!
But Kushner's wasn't the only clearance where the White House's point man, Carl Kline, overrode the national security concerns of career staff.
The official, Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner's 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, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline's arrival.
So, everything we've always feared about the perversion of national security interests for the president's nepotistic kleptocracy turned out to be true. And Republicans spent two whole years refusing to investigate, so Kush got free rein to hoover up the nation's secrets unchecked the whole time.
But wait, there's more! As it happens, Kline is the subject of a pending EEOC complaint for his treatment of Tricia Newbold, an employee in the White House personnel security office, who suffers from a form of dwarfism.
Her complaint states that, in December 2017, Kline moved security files to a new location that was too high and out of her reach and told her, "You have people, have them get you the files you need; or you can ask me."
Her attorney, Ed Passman, told NBC News, "My client has been subjected to ongoing discrimination by a ruthless supervisor who was destroying the personnel security division by granting security clearances over the objections of civil servant recommendations.
"In a letter to her family obtained by NBC News, Newbold described Kline's behavior toward her as "aggressive," involving "emotional and psychological abuse" starting in July 2017, a few months after he took over the office.
(That faint murmuring you hear is the sound of every Jew on the East Coast whispering a little prayer that Kline's people are Pennsylvania Dutch.)
This is a national scandal that would end any other administration. And yet day after day, Kushner sits in that White House and keeps his clearance. Even with the shutdown and Mueller investigations eating all our bandwidth, we have to pay attention to this metastasizing scandal. Lucky thing we took back the House, huh?
HELP US, OBI WAN ELIJAH! YOU'RE OUR ONLY HOPE.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.