White House Official Makes Big Security Clearance Allegation

Tricia Newbold says 25 names were cleared despite 'disqualifying issues'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2019 11:09 AM CDT
In this file photo, the White House is seen behind security barriers in Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – A career official in the White House security office says dozens of people in President Trump's administration were granted security clearances despite "disqualifying issues" in their backgrounds, such as concerns about foreign influence, drug use and criminal conduct. Tricia Newbold, an 18-year government employee who oversees the issuance of clearances for some senior White House aides, says she compiled a list of at least 25 officials who were initially denied security clearances last year because of their backgrounds. But she says senior Trump aides overturned those decisions, moves that she said weren't made "in the best interest of national security," per the AP. Newbold's allegations were detailed in a letter and memo released Monday by Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform committee.

That panel has been investigating security clearances issued to senior officials including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former White House aide Rob Porter. The letter comes about a month after the New York Times reported that Trump ordered officials to grant Kushner a clearance over the objections of national security officials and after Newbold spoke out to NBC News and other news outlets about her concerns. She says Congress is her "last hope" to restore "integrity" to her office, per Politico. Cummings said he will move this week to authorize his first subpoena in the probe. The subpoena will be for the deposition of Carl Kline, who served as the White House personnel security director and supervised Newbold. He has since left the White House for the Defense Department.

(Read more security clearance stories.)

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