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Thread: Mishandling Security.

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    Professor Catholicity's Avatar
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    Mishandling Security.

    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
    George Bernard Shaw

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    sorry I can't see the article because it doesn't like my ad blocker.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Source: Trump Ordered Officials to Give Jared Kushner a Security Clearance


    President Donald Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.

    Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Kushner the top-secret clearance.

    The White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Kushner — including by the CIA — and how McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.

    The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.

    Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe D. Lowell, also said that at the time the clearance was granted last year his client went through a standard process. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and Kushner’s wife, said the same thing three weeks ago.

    Asked Thursday about the memos contradicting the president’s account, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”

    Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, said Thursday: “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”

    The decision last year to grant Kushner a top-secret clearance upgraded him from earlier temporary and interim status. He never received a higher-level designation that would have given him access to need-to-know intelligence known as sensitive compartmented information.

    It is not known precisely what factors led to the problems with Kushner’s security clearance. Officials had raised questions about his own and his family’s real estate businesses’ ties to foreign governments and investors, and about initially unreported contacts he had with foreigners. The issue also generated criticism of Trump for having two family members serve in official capacities in the West Wing.

    Kushner has spent this week abroad working on a Middle East peace plan. Among his meetings was one with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

    While the president has the legal authority to grant a clearance, in most cases, the White House’s personnel security office makes a determination about whether to grant one after the FBI has conducted a background check. If there is a dispute in the personnel security office about how to move forward — a rare occurrence — the White House counsel makes the decision. In highly unusual cases, the president weighs in and grants one himself.

    In Kushner’s case, personnel division officials were divided about whether to grant him a top-secret clearance.

    In May 2018, the White House Counsel’s Office, which at the time was led by McGahn, recommended to Trump that Kushner not be given a clearance at that level. But the next day, Trump ordered Kelly to grant it to Kushner anyway, the people familiar with the events said.

    The question of Kushner’s access to intelligence was a flash point almost from the beginning of the administration. The initial background check into Kushner dragged on for more than a year, creating a distraction for the White House, which struggled to explain why one of the people closest to the president had yet to be given the proper approval to be trusted with the country’s most sensitive information.

    The full scope of intelligence officials’ concerns about Kushner is not known. But the clearance had been held up in part over questions from the FBI and CIA about his foreign and business contacts, including those related to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the events.

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Kushner was part of a group that met with a Russian lawyer who went to Trump Tower claiming to have political “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. And during the presidential transition, Kushner had a meeting with the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey Kislyak, and the head of a Russian state-owned bank. When he applied for a security clearance, he did not reveal those meetings.

    He later made several amendments to that section of his application, known as an SF86. His aides at the time insisted he had omitted those meetings inadvertently.

    Kushner initially operated with a provisional clearance as his background check proceeded.

    In an entry to Kushner’s personnel file on Sept. 15, 2017, the head of the personnel security division, Carl Kline, wrote, “Per conversation with WH Counsel the clearance was changed to interim Top Secret until we can confirm that the DOJ or someone else actually granted a final clearance. This action is out of an abundance of caution because the background investigation has not been completed.”

    In a statement to The Times when Kushner received the clearance last year, Lowell said “his application was properly submitted, reviewed by numerous career officials and underwent the normal process.”

    During a review of security clearances in February 2018 that was prompted by the controversy surrounding the then-White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, who had been accused of domestic abuse, Kushner’s clearance was downgraded from interim top secret to secret, limiting his access to classified information. At the time, Kelly wrote a five-page memo, revoking temporary clearances that had been in place since June 1, 2017. That affected both Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who told friends and advisers that they believed Kelly and McGahn were targeting them for petty reasons instead of legitimate concerns flagged by officials.

    Kushner and Ivanka Trump complained to the president about the situation, current and former administration officials said. In Kushner’s case, Trump would often turn to other aides and say in frustration, “Why isn’t this getting done?” according to a former administration official. On at least one occasion, the president asked another senior official if the person could sort out the issue. That official said no, according to this account.

    Kelly did not believe it was appropriate to overrule the security clearance process and had brushed aside or avoided dealing with Kushner’s requests, a former administration official said. Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.

    House Democrats are in the early stages of an investigation into how several Trump administration officials obtained clearances, including Kushner.

    Trump’s precise language to Kelly about Kushner’s clearance in their direct conversation remains unclear. Two of the people familiar with Trump’s discussions with Kelly said there might be different interpretations of what the president said. But Kelly believed it was an order, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

    And Trump was definitive in his statements to The Times in a January interview.

    “I was never involved with the security” clearances Kushner, Trump said. “I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people, actually. But I don’t want to get involved in that stuff.”

    A recent report by NBC revealed that Kline had overruled two career security specialists who had rejected Kushner’s application based on the FBI’s concerns. A senior administration official confirmed the details laid out in the NBC report.

    Kline was acting on the directive sent down by the president, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

    The day that Lowell described Kushner’s process as having gone through normal routes, aides to Kushner had asked White House officials to deliver a statement from Kelly supporting what Lowell had said. But Kelly refused to do so, according to a person with knowledge of the events.



    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    Of course presidents are allowed to choose their advisors and IIRC some of them raised questions of a like nature. Moreover, if they hadn't been elected the last two Democrat presidents probably couldn't have gotten within a six block radius of a security clearance.

    Okay, that was hyperbole. I'm sure they could have gotten within a block.


    ETA: Here's one example

    Source: Lawmakers demand answers on Rhodes' Security clearance


    White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has become the subject of a congressional probe into whether FBI officials declined to grant him an interim security clearance for use during President Obama's transition.

    In a letter sent to FBI Director James Comey in mid-December, Republican Congressmen Trent Franks, Ariz., and Jim Bridenstine, Okla., pressed the agency for details about Obama's top national security aide and his clearance investigation. The letter, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, questions about whether Rhodes' access to classified information is inappropriate considering FBI officials may have been perturbed by his past.

    "Recent reports indicate the FBI denied, or was going to deny, Ben Rhodes an interim security clearance during President Obama's transition. This previously unknown fact is extremely troubling and calls into question the integrity of the FBI's protocols and the wisdom of Mr. Rhodes' continued government employment," the lawmakers wrote.


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source

    Last edited by rogue06; 03-01-2019 at 09:46 AM.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Thanks. I also found the original story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/u...?module=inline

    So where are these internal memos mentioned in the story? And who are the four people mentioned? This sounds like another NYT "anonymous sources said" story.

    But even if it did happen as stated, the President can legally give a top secret security clearance to whomever he wants. He is the Commander in Chief.

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    It was not illegal. The main problem would be whether or not Trump et al lied about it.

    I don't really trust Kushner, but at this point, I also don't trust the FBI and other security agencies when it comes to Trump and his family.
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    tWebber firstfloor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catholicity View Post
    It IS a very serious problem and for reasons that should be obvious even to Republicans.
    “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
    “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott
    “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell

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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstfloor View Post
    It IS a very serious problem and for reasons that should be obvious even to Republicans.
    No it isn't. As the top classifying official in the country, Trump legally can order a security clearance investigation for ANYONE. Ultimately, it's his legal responsibility and ability to accept the risk if any abnormalities are discovered.


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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    It was not illegal. The main problem would be whether or not Trump et al lied about it.

    I don't really trust Kushner, but at this point, I also don't trust the FBI and other security agencies when it comes to Trump and his family.
    You know, it's sad that we're kinda in a situation where we have to decide who's lying the LEAST, not "who's telling the truth".

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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    You know, it's sad that we're kinda in a situation where we have to decide who's lying the LEAST, not "who's telling the truth".
    I think that's why Trump had to excuse Kim on the Otto Warmbier thing. If he wants the benefit of the doubt from others, he had to give it to Kim.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

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    tWebber firstfloor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    No it isn't. As the top classifying official in the country, Trump legally can order a security clearance investigation for ANYONE. Ultimately, it's his legal responsibility and ability to accept the risk if any abnormalities are discovered.
    So if Obama has given a clearance to his son-in-law after security experts and recommend refusal, you would have given him a thumbs up. You are nuts.
    “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
    “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott
    “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell

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