Whistleblower: Trump White House reversed security clearance denials


Tricia Newbold, a White House Personnel Security Office employee, is alleging that the Trump White House overruled decisions on 25 security clearances that had been previously denied-a matter that Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is determined to investigate.

Ms. Newbold told the committee's staff members that the clearance applications had been denied for a variety of reasons, including "foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct", the memo said.

Lowell could not say whether or not Kushner shared classified information but noted the president's son-in-law took screen shots of his WhatsApp messages and sent them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council so they could be preserved, as required by the Presidential Records Act.

"Reports are suggesting that we are conducting foreign relations by people with security clearances via WhatsApp!" she said during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee.

"I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security", Newbold told the committee, according to a panel document summarizing her allegations.

A White House whistleblower at the centre of a furore over security clearances granted to Trump administration aides has dismissed claims that Jared Kushner is one of the individuals at the centre of her complaint. I mean, really, what is next?

That probe picked up steam 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.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cummings interviewed Newbold on Saturday, March 23 and on Monday he shared a summary of her testimony.

First, she alleges that there were 25 clearances given to officials, against the recommendations of her and her colleagues.

She said she ignored pressure from Mr Kline over another case and the third official ultimately left the White House.

"I disclosed all of my holdings for the Office of Government Ethics, and what I did with them is they told me what to divest, what to keep, what rules to follow". This, she said, prevents the White House from being able to assess whether applicants "could be susceptible to blackmail, depending on their debts".

Two of those people whose rejections were overturned are "senior White House officials" who remain in their jobs to this day, according to Ms Newbold.

The Oversight Committee now plans to authorise subpoenas in order to discover more about the way in which a number of security clearances were issued to a number of individuals, including Kushner.

Newbold said that when she returned to work in February, she was cut out of the security clearance process and removed from a supervisory responsibility.