Why do so many top White House officials lack full security clearances?

Neither the White House nor the FBI is taking responsibility in the backlog of more than 700,000 security clearances. One investigator told CBS News that the White House security clearance process “is the peak of what the problem is throughout the government.”

On Monday, the White House blamed delays in the security clearance process on the FBI, but in another sign of the strain between the bureau and the White House, the FBI responded in a statement that they just conduct the background check, they don’t grant security clearances, reports CBS News’ Jeff Pegues. 

Nearly 13 months into the Trump administration, more than a dozen top officials are working with an “interim security clearance.” Among them the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Rob Porter was on that list until he resigned last week amid allegations of domestic violence.

“Well to me it suggests a breakdown in the security clearance system,” said Chris Swecker, former assistant director of the FBI.  

He says some officials in the Clinton administration relied on interim clearances, but that it’s unusual for so many officials to not have full security clearances at this point. 

“To have someone with an interim security clearance for over a year seems very excessive. It sort of defeats the purpose of having a security clearance process in the first place,” Swecker said.

Within FBI headquarters there is a special unit called SPIN or Special Inquiries. It handles White House security clearances, which are designed to be expedited in about 45 days. Once the FBI completes its investigation, its findings are handed over to the White House, which has discretion in deciding whether to approve a full security clearance.

“My real question was about how — how he could be doing this job without a security clearance,” said Lisa Brown, a staff secretary in President Obama’s White House. You want to make sure that they aren’t working for foreign government, that they are an upright and honest person, that they aren’t somehow going to be susceptible to blackmail.”

That is why the security clearance process is essential — especially for the White House. CBS News has been told that the FBI first turned over Rob Porter’s background check information to the White House at least eight months before his resignation.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Related Posts

U.S. tells Israel ‘you are not alone’ as Jerusalem embassy set to open

Comments Off on U.S. tells Israel ‘you are not alone’ as Jerusalem embassy set to open

Russian officials bar Navalny from running for president

Comments Off on Russian officials bar Navalny from running for president

The men saving history from ISIS

Comments Off on The men saving history from ISIS

Trump calls himself “a very stable genius,” slams Michael Wolff

Comments Off on Trump calls himself “a very stable genius,” slams Michael Wolff

60 Minutes team “felt sense of urgency” in Allegiant Air investigation

Comments Off on 60 Minutes team “felt sense of urgency” in Allegiant Air investigation

Conway broke law with political comments on Alabama Senate race, gov’t watchdog says

Comments Off on Conway broke law with political comments on Alabama Senate race, gov’t watchdog says

After “sad” Snapchat redesign, Snap loses one-fifth its value

Comments Off on After “sad” Snapchat redesign, Snap loses one-fifth its value

Mexican Couple Busted With $1.3 Million In Cartel Fentanyl Headed For The US

Comments Off on Mexican Couple Busted With $1.3 Million In Cartel Fentanyl Headed For The US

Eye Opener: U.N. calls for talks after Gaza bloodshed

Comments Off on Eye Opener: U.N. calls for talks after Gaza bloodshed

Hostage killed by FBI in botched raid grabbed agent’s gun, cops say

Comments Off on Hostage killed by FBI in botched raid grabbed agent’s gun, cops say

Miranda Lambert’s rumored beau’s estranged wife shares tearful selfie amid reports husband cheated on her with star

Comments Off on Miranda Lambert’s rumored beau’s estranged wife shares tearful selfie amid reports husband cheated on her with star

How a Texas gerrymandering case could lead to nationwide discrimination

Comments Off on How a Texas gerrymandering case could lead to nationwide discrimination

Create Account



Log In Your Account