WASHINGTON – The declaration of the White House, senior advisor Jared Kushner, President, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is degraded, according to two people informed of the decision.
Kushner has been in operation with a provisional approval to the “top secret/sensitive compartmented information level for more than a year. Now he is only authorized to access the information on the bottom “secret” – level, according to a White House official and a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity. No other source is authorized to discuss the decision in public.
Chief of staff John Kelly ordered that White House, officials of the interim statements, pending since June 1, 2017, to lose their access to the nation’s deepest secrets, as they still had not received permanent play by last Friday. A White House official confirmed to The Associated Press that Kelly, the order is carried out.
Trump would have reversed Kelly’s decision and unilaterally offered Kushner a distance, but deferred to Kelly.
“I will let the General Kelly make that decision and he is going to do what is right for the country and I have no doubt he will make the right decision,” Trump said Friday, when he addressed the clearance issue for the first time.
Kushner’s lawyer told the AP that Kushner’s ability to hold his job is not to be affected by a modification of its approval.
“Those who are involved in the process have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr Kushner is the level at which the process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for such approval reviews this long in a new government, and that the current backlog to be addressed now,” said Peter Mirijanian, a Kushner spokesman said.
Kushner’s portfolio has included the AMERICAN relations with China and Japan, and a host of domestic priorities, including infrastructure, trade and economic development. But his freewheeling accomplish in the foreign policy of the space that was seen as an undermining of state Secretary Rex Tillerson — has already been curtailed somewhat in the context of Kelly.
Still, Kushner is reportedly said to have reviewed the highly classified presidential daily brief, and is already in the room for a couple of Trump’s most far-reaching domestic and foreign policy.
Kushner is one of the dozens of White House employees who work without a permanent security permissions for the better part of a year.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that she would not respond to individual security clearances but Kushner “a valued member of the team, and he will continue to do the important work that he does since he started in the administration.”
With a top secret clearance, Kushner would have had access to information about covert operations and intelligence sources and methods. With a secret clearance, he still has access to intelligence assessments, but not necessarily the details behind the reason why the US know what is shared with him.
The downgrade would mean that everyone that top-secret material to Kushner could be accused of mishandling classified material, according to David Priess, who wrote a history of the President’s Daily Brief, the top-level intelligence document, produced in the United States. Still, a president is the ultimate authority to classify or to declassify information, so he could show the short — hotspots all over the world, AMERICAN covert operations and information about world leaders— “to whom he damn well pleases,” Priess tweeted.
There are three levels of security clearances. The disclosure of information as “confidential” would “damage” national security. The unauthorized disclosure of “secret” information could cause “serious damage” to national security. “Top secret,” disclosure would cause “exceptionally serious damage to national security.
The White House, in the processing of security clearances under intensive control in the wake of revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had worked for more than a year with only a provisional approval. Porter, whose job gave him access to the most sensitive of documents, had been accused of domestic violence by his two ex-wives. The White House has repeatedly changed its timeline about who knew what and when about the allegations, and the scandal is weakened, Kelly’s, both among the staff and the president.
Kushner is forced to repeatedly correct omissions in his SF-86,” the government-wide form is used to apply for clearances, as well as his financial disclosure forms, which the experts said could slow down, or even nix his chance of earning a clearance through the normal process. Kushner has also come under the microscope in special counsel Robert Mueller, the ongoing investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Lemire reported from New York. AP writers Deb Riechmann, Ken Thomas, Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin contribution of Washington.