Oversight Committees: Trump's Security Breaches

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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#26

Post by Addie » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:46 am

WaPo
As Jared Kushner’s security clearance is delayed, White House hesitates to act on others with possible problems

White House Counsel Donald McGahn and other Trump administration officials have been so vexed by Jared Kushner’s months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems, several people familiar with the matter said.

Dozens of White House employees, including Kushner, are still waiting for permanent clearances and have been operating for months on a temporary status that allows them to handle sensitive information while the FBI probes their backgrounds, U.S. officials have said. Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future.

It is not uncommon for ­security-clearance investigations to drag on for months, but Kushner’s unique situation has cast a pall over the process in the minds of some, these people said.

The president’s son-in-law and close adviser has been allowed to see materials, including the President’s Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government. He has been afforded that privilege even though he has only an interim clearance and is a focus in the ongoing special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#27

Post by Addie » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:57 pm

NPR
White House Security Clearance Trouble Shines Light On 'High Risk' Backlog Problem ...

More than 3 million government employees hold some type of security clearance, most in the Department of Defense. That's more than half of all federal jobs. Another 1.2 million government contractors held clearances, as of 2015.

And the government is running into what security experts warn is a major problem — a mounting backlog that is hampering critical functions of the government. Some 700,000 people are waiting to have clearances processed, according to a report issued last week by the U.S. Comptroller's office, and many see the process as broken.

The problem is so acute that the Government Accountability Office two weeks ago added it to its list of "high-risk" programs "in need of either broad-based transformation or specific reforms to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement."

"A high-quality and timely personnel security clearance process is essential to minimize the risks of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to help ensure that information about individuals with criminal histories or other questionable behavior is identified and assessed," U.S. Comptroller Gene Dodaro noted. "Our objective for the High Risk List is to bring attention to policymakers of the need for action sooner, rather than later. Renewed and strong top leadership commitment will be critical to facilitate progress in reducing the backlog and completing key improvements to the personnel security clearance process."

Sen. Mark Warner agrees.

"We are wasting money hiring people, then not allowing them to do their job that they were hired for, because they may have to wait months or in certain cases even beyond a year before they get the security clearance," the Democrat from Virginia and ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee told NPR.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#28

Post by Suranis » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:22 pm

Remember that the Republicans were 100% behind Nixon... until the day they weren't. When they turn it will be because they all decided to turn on him. Anyone that turns before that will never get anywhere in the Republican party, ever, no matter how bad a Republican President is.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#29

Post by RTH10260 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:39 pm

Addie wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:57 pm
NPR
White House Security Clearance Trouble Shines Light On 'High Risk' Backlog Problem ...

:snippity:
BUT... But... but.... His Majesty 2nd Donald requested extreme vetting !!! :shh:



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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#30

Post by Suranis » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:46 pm

RTH10260 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:39 pm

BUT... But... but.... His Majesty 2nd Donald requested extreme vetting !!! :shh:
They called a Vet. What else do you want?


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#31

Post by Addie » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:44 am

Just Security
Why the White House “System” for Security Clearances is an Intelligence Emergency ...

Information is classified for a reason – professionals assess that its disclosure could be reasonably expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to national security. Different levels of classification correspond to the level of danger that a disclosure would have — the higher the classification the higher the danger from a disclosure.

And that’s where we get to why we have security clearances. In order to be trusted to collect, consume, and discuss classified information, the Intelligence Community (IC) wants to be assured that individuals will not unintentionally or intentionally disclose the information. Other countries are actively trying to get access to our intelligence. It’s one of the oldest games in the book, and people with access to classified information are priority targets. So the IC wants to be sure that clearance holders won’t be easily manipulated by well-trained foreign intelligence agents.

Manipulation and exploitation become a lot easier when a target has secrets of their own — undisclosed or misreported contacts with foreign nationals, unethical business ties, affairs, drug use, gambling debt — anything an individual doesn’t want coming out publicly. The massive Chinese hack of the US Office of Personnel Management is believed to have been aimed at uncovering sensitive personal information that the Chinese could use to blackmail U.S. government employees. Soviet operatives during the Cold War, and Russian intelligence services up through the present, have used kompromat – or compromising material – to blackmail targets into doing what they want. Rob Porter’s two ex-wives allegations of domestic abuse definitely fall into the kompromat category – he didn’t want these allegations being made public (he quit/resigned/who can tell once they became so).

It is true that Porter had an interim clearance, but according to the US government, an interim security clearance is based on the completion of minimum set of investigative requirements and is granted on a temporary basis, pending the completion of the full investigative requirements. It is most likely that Porter and Kushner’s interim clearances were granted before the personal security investigation got very far (note the use of the word “minimum” above). The fact remains that federal investigators could not, for over a year now, come to the decision that neither Porter, nor Kushner, nor any of the other 30-40 staff with interim clearances could be trusted with the nation’s greatest secrets.

Just take a moment to think: We have had federal investigators unable to adjudicate eligibility for access to classified information for over a year, and prime foreign intelligence targets, with personally compromising secrets, roaming the halls of the White House digesting classified information.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#32

Post by Azastan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:57 am

Just take a moment to think: We have had federal investigators unable to adjudicate eligibility for access to classified information for over a year, and prime foreign intelligence targets, with personally compromising secrets, roaming the halls of the White House digesting classified information.
What that really means, is that we (whoever is in charge of investigating for security clearance) KNOW that the person being investigated shouldn't have clearance, but since the president can change the parameters at his discretion, and since these are people he wants to have looking at this stuff--we'll drag our feet about a permanent clearance because if we deny it, the president will simply change the rules.

But this way, we can CYA by pointing out that there were problems with the security clearance, and that's why we didn't issue a permanent clearance.



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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#33

Post by Addie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:44 am

The Hill Op Ed - Brent Budowsky
End the Trump security clearance scandals immediately ...

Whether or not he [Kushner] faces legal jeopardy, he continues to be involved today in highly sensitive matters involving highly classified information with highly placed foreigners without the full security clearance that should be a mandatory prerequisite for any such contacts.

These security clearance scandals occur at a time when Trump and his supporters are continuing and escalating their attacks against the FBI and the Department of Justice, an ominous development in any event, made even more ominous because they occur while dozens of officials operate in sensitive posts without full security clearances that they are purportedly working with the FBI to resolve.

The security clearance scandals create a cloud over John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, who at best has not presided over the effective resolution of the security clearance scandals, and at worst has been potentially less than honest with colleagues in discussing and resolving them.

The security clearance problem is indeed a scandal, affecting dozens of individuals holding sensitive posts who lack the clearance that should have been granted long ago, which creates a continuing national security risk to the nation.

This scandal must be ended immediately. Either full security clearances should be granted within 30 days, or these individuals who cannot be approved for clearance should no longer be operating, without any exceptions, in posts that would grant them access to classified information.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#34

Post by Addie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:21 am

The Hill
FBI chief offers new, detailed timeline on Porter background check

FBI Director Christopher Wray offered a new timeline on the background check for former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, saying the investigation ended in July but that new information was then provided to the White House in November and January.

Wray in response to questions from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that investigators submitted a partial report on their investigation of Porter as far back as March 2017.

“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed, what I can tell you is the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July,” he said.

“Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November and then we administratively closed the file in January. And then earlier this month, we received additional information and we passed that on as well.”
Also:
The Hill: Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee
WaPo: FBI director defends the bureau’s handling of security clearance for White House aide accused of spousal abuse
Reuters: FBI completed Porter background check in July, says Wray


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#35

Post by Addie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:02 pm

The Atlantic - David A. Graham
How the White House Gamed the Security-Clearance System ...

Wray’s testimony aligns with reporting about what staff in White House, including Counsel Don McGahn and Chief of Staff John Kelly, knew and when they knew it, but it conflicts with the White House line, which is that when Kelly learned that Porter had been accused of domestic violence, he quickly told Porter that he needed to resign. (In yet another account, White House spokespeople have repeatedly claimed publicly Porter resigned of his own volition.) This testimony from Wray, who Trump selected to succeed fired FBI Director James Comey, puts his bureau, which has already been a target of harsh attacks from the president, again at odds with the White House. ...

The FBI can recommend that an individual not be granted clearance, but it doesn’t actually do the granting. For White House staff, the White House itself makes that decision. Sometimes it will inform a staffer that he or she will not receive clearance, giving that person time to quietly and gracefully leave government. But there’s no statutory procedure that would prevent a president from deciding to let an employee work under interim clearance for eight years across two full terms. ...

More broadly, the way that the White House appears to have gamed the security-clearance system, and exposed its weaknesses, is a microcosm of how the Trump administration has repeatedly encountered safeguards established under the assumption that presidents would respect them without statutory requirements. The Office of Government Ethics was designed to warn the White House when it was not complying with federal ethics rules, but as with the background checks, OGE had (and has) no authority to compel compliance, because in the pre-Trump era everyone assumed that a president would wish to be seen as concerned for his reputation. Nothing bans a president from firing an FBI director on a whim, because in the pre-Trump era everyone assumed that a president would respect existing norms and would not do so. Nothing explicitly bans a president from pushing the Justice Department to prosecute his vanquished political rival, because in the pre-Trump era no president had done so.

Trump has careened past these non-binding barriers without obstruction (so to speak), seeing them as obstacles thrown up by a deep state that was either determined to thwart him personally or else simply too sunk in the swamp. What he and his aides seem to have missed is that these guidelines exist to protect the president, too. Litigation over Trump’s conflicts of interests is still pending, but the other cases are demonstrating this already. If Trump had not fired Comey, he would have saved himself the special-counsel probe that represents a major threat and distraction to his presidency. If the White House had taken the FBI’s recommendation about Porter seriously when received, it could have sidestepped the latest political catastrophe.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#36

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:33 am

Politico
Gowdy: Oversight panel launched Porter investigation 'last night'

The House Oversight Committee is investigating the Trump administration’s employment of Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic abuse, committee chairman Trey Gowdy said Wednesday.

Gowdy was asked on CNN’s “New Day” if his committee would launch an investigation into Porter’s employment at the White House and at what point the administration was made aware of the allegations against him. "We did last night,” he responded.

“You can call it official. You can call it unofficial,” Gowdy said. “I'm going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer. And if they don't answer them, then they're going to need to give me a really good reason.”
Adding:
The Hill: Gowdy: House Oversight has launched investigation into Porter ...

Gowdy said Wednesday he’s “troubled by almost every aspect” of the situation surrounding Porter.

“I spent two decades believing women and children who alleged abuse, even sometimes when no one else did,” Gowdy told CNN, referring to his time as a prosecutor.

“So whether or not there’s a security at issue or not, I have real issues about how someone like this could be considered for employment whether there’s a security clearance or not,” Gowdy said.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#37

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:21 pm

Politico
House Dems to push for more oversight of White House security clearances

Three House Democrats will introduce legislation on Wednesday to significantly expand congressional oversight of the White House’s security clearance process, as controversy swirls over a former senior White House aide who maintained an interim clearance despite accusations of domestic violence.

The bill, which will be introduced by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), would require the White House to submit to Congress every three months a list “of the name and position of each individual working in the [Executive Office of the President] who holds a security clearance of any kind,” according to Lieu’s office.

The bill would also seek to limit the use of interim security clearances to a year by requiring “a justification from the White House Counsel” for maintaining any interim clearances longer than that.

The proposed legislation underscores the extent to which President Donald Trump’s White House has become engulfed in the controversy surrounding former senior aide Rob Porter. Porter, who resigned last week, held an interim security clearance despite concerns raised about his past. The White House has been evasive in describing how — and under whose authority — Porter continued to have access to sensitive information.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#38

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:29 pm

ABC News
Jared Kushner should lose security clearance, top House Democrat says

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is accusing White House of "showing a blatant disregard for national security."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., pointed to the handling of the allegations leveled against now-former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was allowed access to the White House with a temporary security clearance, and said that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, has a similar kind of temporary security clearance.

"[Kushner] shouldn’t have the security clearance because obviously they’ve looked at it," Nadler told ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "He is the president’s son-in-law and a top adviser to the president, one assumes that they’ve given some priority to examining this, and they haven’t given it to him. Which means they're not, which means they can't give it to him." ...

"I have to believe that [Kelly] was ultimately responsible. There may have been others too, and they may have been under direct orders from the president, for that matter. If it turns out that he was executing the direct order of the president ... then I would say that’s an excuse for him," Nader said. "But other than that, if you can’t prove that, then yes, he should step aside and so should anyone else who participates in abusing the security trust of the country.

"When they close the case they refuse the security clearance. They had to tell the chief of staff at minimum. He had to know that," he added.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#39

Post by TexasFilly » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:41 pm

While all of this is horrifying, it shouldn't be shocking. When you have the Dotard in Chief sharing highly classified intelligence with Russians in the Oval Office (and keeping the American press in the dark about it), one has to conclude that nothing is really classified in the White House any more. When you have the National Security Advisor acting as a Foreign Agent, that's the ball game. The rest of these people, deplorables all, can't be doing any more damage than the Idiot in Chief. The fish rots from the head, and all that jazz.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#40

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:45 pm

CNN
CNN Exclusive: At least 100 White House officials served with 'interim' security clearances until November

Washington (CNN)Nearly a year into President Donald Trump's administration, senior-level staffers -- including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Rob Porter -- remained on interim clearances even as other senior advisers were granted full security access, according to information obtained by CNN from a US government official.

Having interim clearance can hamper a staffer's ability to perform essential functions of the job, a former administration official said. It requires those with full permanent clearances to remain vigilant about what information is shared with those still operating on an interim basis.

There were more than 100 staffers in the Executive Office of the President who were operating on interim clearances more than a year after Trump was elected, according to the information.

It's not clear which of those staffers gained full clearances in the three months since the information was produced in November. It is also unclear whether the delay is the result of a bureaucratic backlog or potential complications in the background of these aides.

At least two dozen of the staffers with interim clearances started working on the first day of the Trump administration, according to the information.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#41

Post by Addie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:16 am

WaPo
New White House security clearance policy could put ‘bull’s eye’ on Kushner

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly announced Friday that beginning next week, the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top-secret information — a move that could threaten the standing of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law.

Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, has been able to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets even as his background investigation has dragged on for more than a year.

White House officials have privately discussed concerns that Kushner’s clearance faces obstacles, according to people familiar with internal conversations. Among the potential problems: repeated amendments that he had to make to a form detailing his contacts with foreign officials. Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future, The Washington Post reported last week.

In the meantime, Kushner has maintained an interim clearance that gives him access to top-secret and sensitive compartmented information — a rare level of access to hold for a long period of time, experts said. His elite position has allowed him to meet with foreign officials around the world and read the classified intelligence prepared daily for the president.

A senior administration official with knowledge of Kelly’s thinking said that the chief of staff has been frustrated with Kushner’s high level of access without a final clearance and that he was aware the new policies announced Friday could jeopardize Kushner’s ability to carry out his duties in the West Wing. The move puts a “bull’s eye” on Kushner, the official said.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#42

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:50 am

They're gonna need a bigger bus.



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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#43

Post by tek » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:48 pm

At this point in the opera, my bet is that Kushner trumps Kelly.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#44

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:31 am

Associated Press
Week of reckoning on White House aides' access to secrets

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a week of reckoning for White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and dozens of other officials who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year.

Those who have been operating with interim access to top secret information since before June are set to see that access halted Friday under a new policy enacted last week by chief of staff John Kelly. Some officials are expected to leave their posts as a result, while others will continue working with reduced — or no — access to classified information.

The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.

"Nothing that has taken place will affect the valuable work that Jared is doing," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. "He continues and will continue to be a valued member of the team. He'll continue to do the important work that he's been focused on for the last year."

Kelly, in a statement, said the White House looks forward to Kushner maintaining his role working on the Middle East peace process and U.S.-Mexico relations.
Adding:
The Hill: Kushner resisting giving up top access amid scrutiny over security clearances: report
CNN: Kushner-Kelly divide deepens over security clearance overhaul


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#45

Post by Foggy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:08 am

The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.
My staff informs me that this is not rocket surgery. I mean, duh. :doh:

If anyone is mean to l'il Jared Bunny, Ivanka will go running to Daddy. :violin: :crying:


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#46

Post by RTH10260 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:34 am

Foggy wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:08 am
The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.
My staff informs me that this is not rocket surgery. I mean, duh. :doh:

If anyone is mean to l'il Jared Bunny, Ivanka will go running to Daddy. :violin: :crying:
Unchanged? Still gets to see those daily highly secret presidential briefings ? :brickwallsmall:



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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#47

Post by TollandRCR » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:23 pm

If Kushner remains able to see top secret briefings, then Kelly’s reforms are a farce.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#48

Post by Addie » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:49 am

Vanity Fair: “This Is Kelly’s Way of Saying, ‘It’s Me or Jared’”: Inside the West Wing, Security Clearance-gate Is Getting Uglier by the Day

Kushner is asking people to advocate on his behalf. McMaster is lobbying Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats to support Kelly. But in the end, it’s all up to Trump.


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#49

Post by Volkonski » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:06 pm

Addie wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:49 am
Vanity Fair: “This Is Kelly’s Way of Saying, ‘It’s Me or Jared’”: Inside the West Wing, Security Clearance-gate Is Getting Uglier by the Day

Kushner is asking people to advocate on his behalf. McMaster is lobbying Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats to support Kelly. But in the end, it’s all up to Trump.
So, Trump is going to fire both McMaster and Kelly? Guess Jared will just take on their responsibilites.

Wasn't Jared supposed to have achieved peace in the middle east by now? ;)


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Re: House Oversight: Trump's Security Breaches

#50

Post by RTH10260 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:59 pm

Volkonski wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:06 pm
Addie wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:49 am
Vanity Fair: “This Is Kelly’s Way of Saying, ‘It’s Me or Jared’”: Inside the West Wing, Security Clearance-gate Is Getting Uglier by the Day

Kushner is asking people to advocate on his behalf. McMaster is lobbying Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats to support Kelly. But in the end, it’s all up to Trump.
So, Trump is going to fire both McMaster and Kelly? Guess Jared will just take on their responsibilites.

Wasn't Jared supposed to have achieved peace in the middle east by now? ;)
An easy peasy side effect of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, work solved automagically. :blackeye:



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