Sarah Huckabee Sanders (AP/Alex Brandon)

Over 130 White House officials don't have permanent security clearance: report

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are among many White House staffers without permanent clearance


Charlie May
February 15, 2018 4:10PM (UTC)

The same man who said the Democratic National Committee was hacked because it didn't have a "very strong defense system against hacking" and said that the government was hacked by China because "we’re run by people that don’t know what they’re doing," has staffed his White House with political appointees who haven't even obtained permanent security clearances after a full year in office.

As of November of last year, over 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances, and 47 of them report directly to President Donald Trump, internal White House documents obtained by NBC News have revealed.

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Those in the White House without a permanent security clearance as recently as November include Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, social media director Dan Scavino and Christopher Liddell, a strategic initiatives assistant. The four have interim clearances for information classified as "top secret" or "TS/SCI" known as top secret compartmentalized information, NBC reported.

Kushner and Trump were kept on interim clearances, despite the fact that others had been granted full security access. It's not currently known if some staffers' clearances have changed since November or if "the delay is the result of a bureaucratic backlog or potential complications in the background of these aides," CNN reported.

As recently as November, 34 government officials who began working on Jan. 20, 2017, Trump's first day in office, still only had interim clearances. Among those included are top staffers like White House Counsel Don McGahn, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, NBC reported.

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The revelations fuel further speculation that the White House is all over the place, as some staffers have clearances while others do not. Former staff member Omarosa Manigault Newman, for example, worked last year without any clearance, while Communications Director Hope Hicks and Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway have obtained the highest security clearances.

Three White House officials have resigned in the last week after being told they wouldn't obtain a full security clearance, including former staff secretary Rob Porter, who also resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse.

Of course, all of this is deeply ironic, as the president made an entire campaign out of bashing his opponent, Hillary Clinton, over national security issues.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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