Jared Kushner’s application for a top-secret security clearance was rejected by two career security specialists, but then a Trump-appointed official stepped in and overturned the decision, a bombshell new report claims.
The report from NBC News claimed that Carl Kline, appointed by Donald Trump to serve as director of personnel security, overturned the rejected security applications for Kushner and at least 30 other top Trump officials who did not pass the application process. The rejections were seen as unprecedented, with only one rejection being overturned in the three years before Kline took over, the report noted.
Because Donald Trump did not come from the world of politics, many of his appointees were friends and former business associates who had “complicated financial and personal histories,” the report noted. These red flags caused concern among the security experts who rejected their application for clearances to view sensitive material.
As the report noted, the overturned rejections were seen as a major concern.
“What you are reporting is what all of us feared,” said Brad Moss, a lawyer who works in the process of seeking security clearances. “The normal line adjudicators looked at the FBI report…saw the foreign influence concerns, but were overruled by the quasi-political supervisor.”
The report on Jared Kushner’s security clearance rejection comes just one day after another report that Democrats in Congress announced plans to investigate how Donald Trump’s son-in-law was able to obtain a clearance in the first place. As CNBC reported, House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings said the investigation is in response to “grave breaches of national security” involving other Trump officials, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
They also planned to investigate how Rob Porter, a former top White House official accused of domestic abuse, was able to get his own clearance. The White House was reportedly informed by the FBI of the allegations against Porter, yet he maintained his White House position until they became public.
NEW: Exclusive: Two security specialists rejected Jared Kushner’s top secret security clearance over concerns of potential foreign influence, but were overruled by a supervisor, two sources familiar with the matter told @NBCNews. https://t.co/mhoK0EE0wT— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 25, 2019
Jared Kushner has been a focus of criticism among those who say he lacked the political and foreign policy experience to serve as a top White House adviser. Kushner was also criticized for his close personal and business ties to Saudi Arabia, and he was reportedly a driving force in steering the White House away from condemning the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly killed at the order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.