Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner will no longer get access to the nation’s most sensitive intelligence secrets, a circumstance that’s sure to complicate his role as America’s Middle East peace-broker.
Kushner had been receiving Top Secret reports, as well as some reports further compartmentalized to protect sensitive sources, under an interim, or temporary clearance. Politico has now reported that Kushner and other White House aides with interim clearances were informed by memo last Friday that their access was being downgraded to the Secret level.
Kushner and the others have yet to be fully vetted by the Justice Department to view classified information and it is highly unusual for White House officials to hold interim clearances for such a lengthy period of time.
Complicating matters, Kushner initially failed to disclose scores of information from the standard form government officials are required to fill out to receive security clearances—including more than 100 contacts with foreign officials—delaying the completion of his background check. It’s been theorized that his sprawling business empire, foreign investments, and mountains of debt may be a chief factor in why the matter has yet to be resolved.
While President Trump has the authority to grant Kushner clearance to access highly classified information, Trump told reporters earlier this month that his chief of staff, retired Marine general John Kelly, would handle the decision.
Kelly fell under pressure to resolve the interim-clearance problem after a White House staffer with temporary clearance was accused of physically abusing his two ex-wives. The staffer, Rob Porter, resigned on February 7th.
Politico reported Tuesday that the memo which downgraded Kushner’s interim clearance from Top Secret to Secret was not signed by General Kelly.
In the coming days, Kushner’s inability to access Top Secret information about the Middle East will undoubtedly raise significant questions about his ability to continue functioning as the nation’s Mideast peacemaker.