White House whistleblower: multiple officials denied clearances had rejections… – Atlanta Journal Constitution
In new testimony released on Monday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, a White House security official told Congress that a number of White House officials were blocked from getting security clearances because of red flags on their record, but that ‘dozens’ of security denials were overruled by President Donald Trump.
“Once we adjudicate it, the President absolutely has the right to override and still grant the clearance,” said Tricia Newbold, who currently reviews security clearances in the Trump White House, “but that doesn’t mean at any time that we should alter the way we do business.”
Newbold told investigators she was going public because of her concerns that the security clearance process had become politicized inside the Trump White House.
“I want it known that this is a systematic, it’s an office issue, and we’re not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode,” Newbold was quoted by Democrats on the Oversight Committee.
The release of the information and testimony from Newbold angered Republicans on the Oversight panel, who denounced the release of the information in their own release, labeling it a “reckless use of whistleblower information.”
Democrats said the Newbold testimony showed “many security clearance denials were routinely overruled without following the proper protocols to document why senior officials disagreed with assessments and without memorializing the risks they were accepting.”
The document issued by Democrats went over the cases of three ‘senior White House officials,’ detailing a series of disqualifying factors, which included foreign influence, personal conduct, and external employment.
Newbold, who currently works at the White House, told investigators in an interview this past weekend that she had taken her concerns up the chain of command repeatedly, as she said there was an ‘unusually high number of interim’ security clearances granted under the Trump Administration.
In the release from Democrats, Newbold asserted that she was subjected to a ‘series of retaliatory and harassing actions’ for raising questions about security clearance reviews, and was suspended without pay for 14 days on January 30, 2019.
“The specific basis for her suspension was an allegation that she failed to follow a new policy created by Mr. Kline in November 2018 to scan documents in separate .pdf files instead of a single .pdf file when sending them to other agencies,” the Democratic release stated.
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