CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington—An immediate investigation is needed into the granting of Jared Kushner’s security clearance against the recommendation of career security specialists, according to a request filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (ICIG). CREW also requested an investigation into the granting of security clearances to approximately 30 other staff members in the Executive Office of the President (EOP).
Career White House security specialists and then-White House Counsel Donald McGahn recommended that Kushner not receive a top-secret clearance, citing concerns about his foreign entanglements and potential susceptibility to foreign influence. Despite the recommendations, Kushner was granted a clearance in May 2018. Several recent news reports indicate that President Trump ordered then-Chief of Staff John Kelly to grant Kushner’s clearance, but President Trump has denied any involvement in granting it. According to earlier reporting, on multiple occasions Carl Kline, then-Director of the EOP Personnel Security Office, overruled the recommendations of career security officials when granting clearances to Trump appointees.
“It is deeply concerning that Jared Kushner and more than 30 other White House staffers were granted clearances against the advice of career security specialists,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “The American public deserves to know the circumstances in which the president’s son-in-law was granted access to our nation’s most sensitive information despite security concerns and whether or not his access presents an ongoing national security threat. The ICIG must immediately investigate how this happened and what role the President played in the process and must determine whether or not Kushner and others are eligible to hold their clearances.”
CREW previously raised questions about Kushner’s security clearance based on his foreign entanglements and foreign influence, among other factors, in a letter to Kelly requesting that Kushner’s interim temporary clearance be revoked. Since CREW submitted that letter, additional conflicts of interest concerns have been raised based on Kushner’s family business interests and his broad work portfolio, including Middle East foreign policy. Kushner reportedly was involved in advancing the so-called “Middle East Marshall Plan” to sell nuclear technology outside of the statutorily mandated process to Saudi Arabia. Questions have also been raised about Kushner’s support for an international blockade of Qatar, which some have suggested may have been retaliation for Qatar not following through on a financial deal benefitting one of the Kushner family properties.