A White House whistleblower, which is not the same as a racist whistleblower, told a Congressional panel that more than two dozen security clearances that should have been denied were overturned by the Trump administration.
According to The Washington Post, Tricia Newbold, a longtime White House security adviser, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that they were the “last hope” in exposing the corruption inside the White House. Newbold added that she and her colleagues issued “dozens” of denials for security clearances that were later approved “despite their concerns about blackmail, foreign influence or other red flags, according to panel documents released Monday.”
“I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security,” Newbold, an 18-year veteran of the security clearance process who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents, told the committee.
Newbold added: “I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”
Newbold claimed that security clearances “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security”—and claimed that she was retaliated against for denying applications.
The allegation comes as a Congressional committee headed by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) is interested in how Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner got a damn top level security clearance.
The White House declined the Post’s request for comment on Monday, and Kushner’s legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Trump administration has refused to hand over any documents requested by Cummings involving security clearances.
“The Committee has given the White House every possible opportunity to cooperate with this investigation, but you have declined,” Cummings wrote in a Monday letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, The Post reports. “Your actions are now preventing the committee from obtaining the information it needs to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.”
Cummings later argued: “In light of the grave reports from this whistleblower—and the ongoing refusal of the White House to provide the information we need to conduct our investigation—the committee now plans to proceed with compulsory process and begin authorizing subpoenas, starting at tomorrow’s business meeting.”
Democrats believe that Trump abused his power and did whatever he wanted to get security clearances approved. It’s been reported that Trump pressured his then chief-of-staff, John Kelly, to get Kushner’s top-secret security clearance approved.
Newbold told the panel that she was afraid to come forward and has already faced several disciplinary actions, including being suspended from her job despite never been written up in her almost 20 year career.
From the Post:
Newbold said she was suspended without pay for 14 days in late January despite “no prior formal disciplinary action” in her nearly two-decade tenure. And when she returned, she was removed from her position as a “second level adjudicator” on security clearances and is no longer a direct supervisor.
In her interview with the committee, which was conducted over a weekend, Newbold told the panel that she began keeping a list of employees whose applications were denied but were later given clearances despite concerns about their ties to foreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems or drug abuse.
That tally now reaches 25, she said, “including two current senior White House officials, as well as contractors and individuals throughout different components of the Executive Office of the President,” the letter says.
Newbold named several superiors she took her concerns to, including: Director of Personnel Security Carl Kline; his immediate supervisor, Chief Operations Officer Samuel Price; White House Counsel’s Office; the assistant to the president Marcia Kelly; and Chief Security Officer Crede Bailey.
Newbold said that she knew her denials could be overturned but became concerned with the lack of documentation following the decision to overrule her denial.
In the case of one top White House official, merely described as “Official 1” in committee documents, Newbold said Kline overruled her and another employee’s denial of an application amid concerns about foreign influence. But Kline, she said, “failed to address all of the disqualifying concerns listed by Ms. Newbold and the first-line adjudicator,” according to a committee summary of her response.
Newbold said another agency contacted her and demanded to know “how we rendered a favorable adjudication,” expressing concern about the clearance issued to “Official 1.”
Newbold also accused Kline of telling her to, in effect, stand down on concerns about another senior White House official, called “Official 2” by the panel. She said one of her colleagues wrote a 14-page summary of why they were planning to deny the application. But when she told Kline of her plan to agree with her colleague on the matter, Kline “instructed Ms. Newbold, ‘do not touch’ the case.”
Kline later approved the security clearance, she said.
Newbold claimed that her decision to come forward was based solely on her concern for national security.
And now we wait again for Republicans to completely ignore these claims, blame Hillary, or both.