February 1, 2023

A new scandal just broke on Capitol Hill involving Kushner’s security clearance

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NBC News just released a bombshell report that indicates President Trump gave unusual preferential treatment in approving his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s top secret security clearance and to at least two dozen more of his appointments.


Shortly after Donald Trump’s stunning election victory in 2016, CBS reported that he sought sensitive security clearances for his children even though his transition team made a cursory effort to hide it from the public. It turns out that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, were plotting back then to get the government jobs that Congress tried to forbid them from holding.

They inevitably got the jobs and the clearances anyway, of course, and when push came to shove the Trump White House passed the buck to former Chief of Staff John Kelly for giving out a clearance that the President’s son-in-law should’ve never gotten.

It turns out that it was really a Trump administration political appointee who had thrown out two national security professionals’ decision to reject Kushner in the trash and handed Kushner his top secret clearance over their better judgment. 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.

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.

“The latest allegations raise significant concerns regarding the possible politicization of the security clearance process within the Trump White House,” said Mark S. Zaid, a Washington DC national security lawyer.

The security clearance is a serious issue when you consider the enormous conflicts of interest that the unelected and unconfirmed presidential advisor Jared Kushner runs into the moment he steps into the White House.

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Not only does Jared Kushner have a long and close personal relationship with far-right extremist Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (who ironically also is currently faces public corruption charges) but he has come under fire for holding clandestine meetings with  former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and a Russian state-run bank chief during the transition period, leading to questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

At the same time, Kushner was negotiating a billion dollar deal with the head of a Chinese insurance company (who was just sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for embezzling $10 billion last year) after Kushner had just borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, an institution infamously willing to participate in Russian money laundering.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, as the Washington Post reported last year, that US officials discovered no less than four countries who said they could easily manipulate Trump’s top White House advisor, Jared Kushner —Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and our greatest rival, the People’s Republic of China.

Now Kushner is the focus of a House Oversight Committee investigation into the Trump administration’s casual disregard of national security laws in order to hand out potentially damaging intelligence to people susceptible to blackmail thanks to their intimate foreign connections.

What’s even worse is that Kushner’s double rejection that somehow resulted in an approval wasn’t even unique to the President’s son-in-law, according to NBC:

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.

“It is highly unusual,” says Zaid, “to hear of a security official so routinely overruling multiple adjudicators.”

Luckily, the CIA turned down Jared Kushner’s requests for the even higher security clearance known as SCI (for “secure compartmented information”), which would have given him access to the raw human intel, signals intercepts, and strategic data America’s federal agencies use to catch terrorists and counter the actions of hostile nations.

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But Trump’s decision to let Kushner have access to secrets so alarmed the CIA, according to NBC, that they phoned the White House to find out what was going on:

After reviewing the file, CIA officers who make clearance decisions balked, two of the people familiar with the matter said. One called over to the White House security division, wondering how Kushner got even a top secret clearance, the sources said.

Amazingly, Trump’s security clearance expert, Carl Kline, decided to cease credit checks, which are the most basic background investigation that can determine if a potential White House employee is susceptible to outside influence because of excessive debts.

We only found out about Kline’s erratic decisionmaking process because of a whistleblower Tricia Newbold, who filed an EEOC complaint against him for height discrimination, according to NBC:

Newbold wrote that she also had serious concerns about how Kline “continuously changes policy” and makes “reckless security judgments”.

The Trump Administration is actively starving the federal government of funding over a national emergency that 69% of Americans do not believe is real for a wall that is unnecessary.

At the same time, Trump’s White House is actively giving out the most sensitive intelligence information collected to stave off real national security emergencies to untrustworthy people who fail any normal standard of review which is a real crisis for America’s safety.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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