Kushner Insecurity

While Nancy Pelosi was owning Donald Trump and Roger Stone was getting arrested, this also was reported:

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. 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.

In other words, at least a few dozen people have been working for the Trump Administration and given security clearances who are actually security risks. Okay.

After Kline overruled the White House security specialists and recommended Kushner for a top-secret clearance, Kushner’s file then went to the CIA for a ruling on SCI. [“sensitive compartmented information,” the nation’s most sensitive secrets]

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. Top-secret information is defined as material that would cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed to adversaries.

The sources say the CIA has not granted Kushner clearance to review SCI material. That would mean Kushner lacks access to key intelligence unless President Donald Trump decides to override the rules, which is the president’s’ prerogative. The Washington Post reported in July 2018 that Kushner was not given an “SCI” clearance. CIA spokesman Timothy Barrett said, “The CIA does not comment on individual security clearances.”

What do you want to bet Trump blabs everything to Kushner anyway?

Martin Longman points out that Kushner is being investigated by German banking regulators for suspicious activity in his Deutsche Bank accounts. And Tina Nguyen writes at Vanity Fair,

Given his various entanglements, the C.I.A.’s alarm makes sense. As The Washington Postreported last year, the president’s son-in-law is viewed by several foreign countries—the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, China, and Israel among them—as a potentially manipulable asset, given his fraught business dealings and his notable lack of political experience. Along with his communications with Russia during the transition, which caught Mueller’s attention, Kushner helped establish a back channel with the U.A.E. while supporting a blockade against Qatar, and has maintained a close personal friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who reportedly bragged last spring that he had Kushner “in his pocket” after Kushner allegedly turned over a list of Saudi dissidents being monitored by the U.S. (Kushner’s team has called this allegation “obviously false and ridiculous”; shortly after the gruesome death of Jamal Khashoggi, Kushner apparently became a reliable defender of the crown prince within the White House.)

Presumably, some or all of these dealings factored into career officials’ recommendation that Kushner be denied a security clearance. “They would not do that lightly for someone of Kushner’s stature and position,” Jacobson wrote. “The fact that the C.I.A. then denied his S.C.I. application is equally damning,” he added. “And the fact that they were so disturbed by the granting of his [top secret] clearance that they called over to the WH? Hooboy.”

There are reports Trump is losing faith with his son in law over the government shutdown fiasco. Yet I suspect Kushner will remain in the White House until the FBI hauls him away.

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