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Up to 25 security clearance denials reportedly reversed by Trump

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Marine One helicopter, carrying US President Donald Trump, lands on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC, on March 31, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Longtime White House security adviser Tricia Newbold has claimed that the Donald Trump administration has reversed 25 security clearance denials related to unqualified officials.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings released a memo detailing the “grave” national security concern on Monday.

The memo was based on claims made by Newbold in an interview with Democratic and Republican committee staff late March.

Cummings claimed that the revelations exposed "grave and continuing failures of the White House security clearance system, including the security clearance adjudications of senior White House officials.”

According to the memo, Newbold has revealed that senior officials have overturned security clearance applications which were originally denied by her and her colleagues, granting unqualified individuals access to sensitive information.

Newbold, who has worked as a career official in the Executive Office of the President for 18 years, claimed that the officials ignored concerns about possible blackmail, foreign influence or other issues related to the individuals which could potentially compromise the information.

“According to Ms. Newbold, these individuals had a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” the memo outlining Newbold’s allegations stated.

Cummings further wrote that “committee staff have spoken with other whistleblowers who corroborated Ms. Newbold’s account, but they were too afraid about the risk to their careers to come forward publicly.”

The memo, however, did not specify any identities related to the investigation.

The House oversight committee chairman has also written to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, demanding that the White House provides security clearance–related documents to the committee.  

Cummings has requested information related to current and former White House officials, including Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, current national security adviser John Bolton, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former staff secretary Rob Porter, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

The request had been made originally as part of an earlier investigation into the White House security clearance process which had been announced by Cummings in late January.

The White House, however, has not produced any documents or witnesses available for interviews, according to Cummings.

The Monday memo comes as reports emerged earlier last month claiming that Trump had ordered his chief of staff to grant Kushner a security clearance, prompting concerns among senior administration officials.


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