Jared Kushner's Security Clearance Downgraded

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, arrives at the Ministry of Defense, in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo)
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, arrives at the Ministry of Defense, in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo)

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's interim security clearance has been downgraded, a government source told Fox News on Wednesday, a move that restricts him from viewing the president's daily brief.

Kushner, who is also President Trump's son-in-law, was one of several White House aides who have been working without a permanent security clearance for the better part of a year.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had set a Feb. 23 deadline for halting access to top-secret information for those whose applications have been pending since June 1 or earlier. As an apparent result, Kushner's clearance was downgraded from "interim top secret" to "interim secret."

A spokesperson for Kushner said in a statement that "the new clearance policy will not affect Mr. Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president."

Kushner's portfolio once included the U.S. relationships with China and Japan and a host of domestic priorities, including infrastructure, trade and economic development. But his free-wheeling reach in the foreign policy space -- which was viewed as undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- had already been curtailed somewhat under Kelly.

Trump said Friday that he would leave it up to Kelly to determine the status of Kushner's clearance.

"I will let General Kelly make that decision and he's going to do what's right for the country and I have no doubt he'll make the right decision," Trump said during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The president also heaped praise on Kushner, calling him a master dealmaker and saying he'd "done an outstanding job." Trump further asserted that he inherited a "broken" background check system in which it can take "months and months and months" for full security clearance to be granted, even for people without complicated financial holdings.

Kushner has been forced to repeatedly correct omissions in his "SF-86," the governmentwide form used to apply for clearances, as well as his financial disclosure forms, which experts said could delay or even nix his chances of earning a clearance through the normal process. Kushner has also come under scrutiny in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The White House's handling of security clearances has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of revelations that former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter had worked for more than a year with only interim clearance.

Porter, whose job gave him constant access to the most sensitive of documents, had been accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. The White House has repeatedly adjusted its timeline about who knew what and when about the allegations, and the scandal has weakened Kelly's standing, both among staffers and with the president.

Fox News' John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Show Full Article