The Washington Post reports that Kushner, whose portfolio encompasses issues ranging from the Middle East peace process to modernizing the federal government’s use of technology, has put in more requests for U.S. intelligence information than any White House staffer not working for the National Security Council.
Kushner holds a Top Secret/sensitive compartmented information (SCI) security clearance, the highest level, which allows him to review some of the nation’s most closely-guarded secrets and allows him access to the presidential daily briefing, according to the Post.
He is one of reportedly dozens of White House officials who have been operating with temporary clearances during Trump’s first year in office, and his clearance could be in jeopardy following chief of staff John Kelly’s changes to the clearance process, the Post said.
In a memo released Friday, Kelly outlined a series of changes to the clearance process amid the controversy surrounding former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned over domestic abuse allegations.
“The American people deserve a White House staff that meets the highest standards and that has been carefully vetted—especially those who work closely with the president or handle sensitive national security information,” Kelly wrote in the memo. “We should — and in the future must — do better.”
The changes include calling on the FBI to specifically brief the White House counsel on any potential concerns flagged in a background check, aiming for the FBI to bring any problematic findings to the White House within two days of discovery, limiting new interim clearances to a maximum of 270 days and cutting off certain clearances for employees whose clearance investigations have been pending since before June 1, 2017.
That change could impact Kushner, whose clearance has been pending since he began working in the Trump White House more than a year ago.
But in a statement to the Post, Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said Kelly’s memo “will not affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president.”
Democrats and ethics groups have called on the White House to explain the delay in Kushner receiving his security clearance. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint Thursday calling on the White House to revoke Kushner’s clearance.