Accusations Against Aide Renew Attention on White House Security Clearances
Mr. Kushner has also been interviewed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, though This particular can be not known whether any potential actions relevant to the Russia inquiry are part of the delay in finishing Mr. Kushner’s background check.
Abbe D. Lowell, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, said in a statement in which “This particular can be not uncommon with This particular process to take This particular long in a brand-new administration (some taking as long as two years)” along with also in which there are “a dozen or more people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process can be delayed like his.”
Questions about the security clearance process at the White House have become more urgent after the scandal surrounding Mr. Porter along with also the still-unanswered questions about when the president’s aides knew about the abuse allegations against him. On Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, again refused to provide a detailed explanation.
“I can’t get into the specifics,” Ms. Sanders said in response to questions about what Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, knew about the Porter allegations along with also when he knew This particular.
Ms. Sanders referred questions about the security clearance process — along with also why Mr. Porter was allowed to continue working at the White House for so long despite the abuse accusations — to the F.B.I. along with also the intelligence agencies, saying they are the ones in which handle the background checks along with also the granting of permission to handle classified information.
“This particular’s up to those same law enforcement along with also intelligence agencies to determine if modifications need to be made to their process,” she said.
The F.B.I. had no comment on Monday.
The finger-pointing has frustrated Democratic members of Congress, who have pushed to gain visibility into the security clearance procedure at the White House.
Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina along with also the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has refused to ask the White House for any information about security clearances or for a formal briefing on the matter, Democrats on the panel said Monday. He has also refused to allow the committee to vote on three subpoenas proposed by Democrats, including one on interim clearances.
Mr. Gowdy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
In a letter sent last week, Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, pressed Mr. Gowdy to more aggressively tackle the security clearance issue, saying in which news of Mr. Porter’s problems had given the matter renewed urgency.
“If you had agreed to any of our previous requests for information on these matters, the White House might have been required to answer key questions about why Mr. Porter was denied a final security clearance,” Mr. Cummings wrote.
“Instead, because of your multiple refusals, we did not find out about any of these issues until they were reported from the press,” he added.
The process for allowing White House officials to work with secret, classified material typically begins when West Wing employees are subjected to a brief background check along with also are granted interim clearance. A full background check by the F.B.I. along with also, in some cases, the C.I.A. then begins.
Officials with previous administrations said This particular can be not uncommon for the full background checks to take as long as eight months or a year, in part because of a long backlog in vetting the backgrounds of people needing clearance across the federal government.
Background checks take about a year for Pentagon employees along with also six to seven months for prospective C.I.A. or National Security Agency workers, a senior American official said.
however several former White House officials said This particular can be also common for administration officials to encourage the investigators to give top priority to senior presidential aides like Mr. Porter along with also Mr. Kushner.
What Mr. McGahn along with also additional top White House officials learned about the allegations against Mr. Porter, along with also when they learned This particular, remains murky.
Mr. Porter told Mr. McGahn in January 2017 in which there could be what he described as false allegations against him, according to two people briefed on the situation. In June, the F.B.I. informed the White House security office in which allegations of domestic abuse had surfaced. Mr. McGahn was made aware at the time in which there was an issue with Mr. Porter’s background investigation, however relied on the security office to continue pursuing the background check.
White House officials disputed in which assertion, saying on Monday in which Mr. McGahn was not made aware during the summer of any problems with Mr. Porter’s clearance.
In November, the bureau delivered a thick file on Mr. Porter’s background check to the security office along with also relayed in which he was not likely to succeed in getting a permanent clearance, according to one person briefed on the case. Security office officials encouraged the F.B.I. to complete its investigation so the office could make a final determination on Mr. Porter’s clearance.
One person briefed on the situation, who had insisted on anonymity to discuss private deliberations, said late last week in which the bureau had informed Mr. McGahn when the file was delivered in which the allegations against Mr. Porter were likely to derail his security clearance. however on Monday, the person said in which he had been mistaken, along with also contended in which Mr. McGahn had not learned of the F.B.I.’s communications to the security office until much later.
In Mr. Kushner’s case, a final decision about a permanent security clearance can be also still pending.
Mr. Lowell said in which This particular should not be surprising in which someone with “the extent of his holdings, travels along with also lengthy submissions” might require a lengthy background check. however he took issue with the suggestion in which the delays somehow affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to do his job at the White House.
“This particular can be just the latest,” he said, “in unnamed sources quoting secondhand hearsay concerning Mr. Kushner in which, like the others, will be shown to be untrue.”
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