Security Clearance Not Necessary to Handle Intelligence at White House

How many people have been working with sensitive intelligence information in the White House without a permanent security clearance? Dozens, according to the Washington Post. For a president who claims he only hires the best people, Donald Trump sure seems to have selected a whole lot of people who raise red flags for the FBI.

Remember how Republicans grilled Hillary Clinton for using her own email server, which could potentially allow sensitive information to get in the wrong hands? It turns out that not only are plenty of Trump officials using private email accounts of their own, but Trump is allowing people who debatably shouldnít have access to sensitive information to handle it directly under his tutelage.

We already knew that Jared Kushner has had ongoing problems getting a permanent clearance, and this past week we learned that Staff Secretary Rob Porter†also couldnít get one because of the serious domestic violence allegations against him. To now understand that thatís the tip of the iceberg shows a White House staff with perhaps too much of a divided allegiance.

Although the FBI process is extremely hush-hush, security clearance inquiries are meant to sniff out if someone who has access to government secrets might have:

  • Tendencies to reveal that information to the public or enemies
  • Loyalties to foreign powers over the United States
  • Criminal history
  • Psychological issues
  • A lying nature Ė particularly on disclosure forms or in in-person interviews

To be fair, Trumpís White House staff was always going to take longer to get clearance because he made a lot of appointments who donít have governmental experience and therefore havenít been vetted in the past. That said, the FBI prioritizes high-ranking officials so thereís not a good excuse for why so many havenít gotten past temporary clearance at this point.

For comparisonís sake, while Barack Obama did name one (unspecified) person to his staff that took two years to get a permanent clearance, just about everybody else was approved within a month/month-and-a-half. Someone like Kushner, over a year into this process, presumably has some details in his past that make the FBI hesitant to approve him.

As the Daily Beast argues, the Trump administration is now ďmaking a mockery of the security clearance process.Ē Temporary clearance was created to give new staffers access to critical information quickly while waiting for the security investigation to occur. It should not get to continue indefinitely when the FBI fails to extend a permanent credential.

Itís not that the White House isnít aware of the objections raised by the FBI Ė the agency privately informs leaders what the red flags are Ė itís that the White House has chosen to ignore any of the damaging information that comes back on their hires and allow them access to highly classified intelligence anyway. While thereís not a lot of oversight to prevent this from occurring, it counters the entire spirit of security clearance in the first place.

In light of the ongoing Russian collusion investigation into the Trump campaign, the Trump White House should be jumping through every hoop available to prove that it is on the up-and-up and not a liability for sharing sensitive secrets with foreign powers. Instead, all weíre seeing is more questionable behavior that makes you go hmmmmm.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

43 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for posting

SEND
Cate S
Cate S9 months ago

Shocking

SEND
Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian9 months ago

There is intelligence in the White House now? How did I miss that?

SEND
Winn Adams
Winn Adams9 months ago

The current administration should be impeached both tRUMPie and his lacky.

SEND
RK R
RK R9 months ago

Think Snowden.

SEND
Debbi W
Debbi W9 months ago

The current white house is a security nightmare, and a major risk for all of us. trump is so damned arrogant, refusing to listen to experienced people or going in the opposite direction than suggested. He shares information like a three year old who was told to keep a secret -- he can't wait to tell the worst people possible. I am sure __No One__ knows exactly what he has told the Russians. I just hope that they don't decide to attack us while Dumfutz is in the white house. This is the most dangerous group of rebels every to darken the white house.

Karin's right. The Greedy Old Party is a disgrace. I just hope their damage is not irreparable.

SEND
Karin Hanson
Karin Hanson9 months ago

The Greedy Old Party obviously doesn't care that their Pinocchio Pres has approved the security clearances of most of his incompetent, questionable administration(??)
Where does he find these people - perhaps they are all acquaintances of his kids as is Hope(less) Hicks. They all need to be GONE. The whole GOP is a total disgrace to the USA!! DumbDonald is a colossal JOKE.... the whole world is laughing at him. SO SAD

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E9 months ago

@ Mike K
On the Rachel Maddow show tonight she recounted 8 separate calls or contacts with Putin and trump that were NOT reported by US news sources but by Russian news. I believe she cited the most recent within the last week or so. Consequently the US citizen and the world ONLY gets one side of those conversations.. But of course as most trumpsters think " The Russian thing is all a witch hunt or a hoax"

SEND
Mike Kelly
Mike K9 months ago

Rachael Maddow counted 14 people inside the White House handling classified information without a clearance. But what difference does it make when Trump himself invites Russian spies into the Oval Office with their media personalities, and gives them all classified information that the Israelis have shared with us, outing the location of one of Israel's double agents?

Trump forbid U.S. media from being present at the Oval Office meeting with the Russian spies, so we only learned about the meeting by reading the Russian newspaper and watching Russian news on TV.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.40ed4f94da0d

SEND
Anne M
Anne Moran9 months ago

It's like too many people contaminating a crime scene...

SEND