Today we add our voices to those of countless other Americans as well as numerous Democrats in Congress who are calling for Jared Kushner’s security clearance to be at minimum reviewed and possibly revoked.
Mr. Kushner’s behaviors, not partisan politics, underlie this outcry. These behaviors are as follows: 1) Mr. Kushner has had numerous meetings with Russians, politicians and citizens, none of which he revealed. The latest revelation occurred this past week. In short this meeting was with a Russian government linked lawyer and the meeting was stated to be part of Russia’s efforts to help Mr. Trump win the election. For more information on this meeting: http://www.npr.org/2017/07/12/536782047/donald-trump-jr-admits-to-meeting-with-russian-lawyer; http://www.npr.org/2017/07/14/537219554/donald-trump-jr-meeting-included-second-russian, 2) Mr. Kushner has had to revise the form he completed in order to gain his security clearance, essentially Mr. Kushner lied on his application. For more information on this issue: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jared-kushner-security-clearance-forms/, 3) Mr. Kushner asked the Russian Ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, to establish a secret back channel, in the Russian embassy, for communication between the Trump administration and the Russian government. For more information on this issue: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/report-russian-amb-kushner-wanted-secret-communications-backchannel/story?id=47672306
A security clearance allows one to receive, have access to, essentially know information that if disclosed would damage the U.S. Thus the process someone goes through before gaining a security clearance is a process designed to determine if the person would be appropriate with the information, if the secrets of the nation would be safe with this person. There are three levels of security clearance: confidential, secret and top secret and even with a security clearance one, should, only receive information on a need to know basis; however with Kushner’s position in the Trump Administration it is fair to assume he receives all the information, (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/14/15964338/jared-kushner-security-clearance-explained).
Ultimately it is the President who is the final arbiter on who does or does not get security clearance in that the President can change the criteria, can revoke someone’s clearance and can give someone clearance: “The security clearance process is ultimately rooted in executive authority, not law, meaning the president himself is the ultimate arbiter. It is extremely rare for a president to wade into such an issue, experts said, but Trump does have the power, if he wanted to, to demand that Kushner keep his clearance. ‘If the president wants someone to have a clearance and access to classified information, there’s no one to tell him no,’ said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. And this is a president who is fiercely loyal to his family. As Trump biographer Tim O’Brien put it, ‘Trump has always put family first, even if family members lack the skill or experience for the type of job they’re being asked to do.’ ‘Trump wouldn’t take away his security clearance himself,’ O’Brien said. ‘He would have to be convinced by his own attorneys and his staff that the issues had moved beyond familial loyalty. That’s going to take a lot of arm-twisting and convincing.’ Not having a security clearance would hobble him from doing large swaths of his job. On many days, he receives classified briefings, according to a senior administration official — and he is often in the room with his father-in-law for sensitive decisions about classified issues. He has traveled overseas with top military commanders and calls foreign leaders on his own. One source said Kushner sometimes comes to National Security Council meetings ‘at least for part of the meeting’ and that he often talks to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,” (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/16/jared-kushner-security-clearance-240575).
And now to the outcry, here are some of the words & thoughts from those who are calling for a review and possible revocation of Mr. Kushner’s security clearance:
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tweeted, “Jared Kushner’s security clearance must be immediately revoked. #ProtectOurDemocracy” (http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/13/democratic-leader-pelosi-kushner-security-clearance/)
“A review of Kushner’s clearance, [Richard] Blumenthal [D-CT] said on Wednesday, was ‘now no longer a matter of choice’. A security clearance entitles Jared Kushner to full access to the most secret and potentially significant information about our national defense and security, the identity of our agents who may be operating in countries like Russia. It’s the keys to the kingdom in terms of our nation’s crown jewels.’”, (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/12/jared-kushner-security-clearance-russia-meeting-donald-trump-jr).
“Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard law school, wrote in an email: ‘Jared Kushner’s failure to disclose that memorable (and probably unlawful) June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney is itself a serious and independent crime under 18 USC section 1001 punishable by five years in prison, and it would no doubt justify revocation of his security clearance…. ‘If it is not revoked, the reason can only be that his father-in-law is President Trump. But that is no reason at all in a republic rather than a hereditary monarchy and under a constitution that bars titles of nobility. So I’d say his security clearance certainly ought to be revoked.’”, (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/12/jared-kushner-security-clearance-russia-meeting-donald-trump-jr).
“Norm Eisen, the former ethics tsar in Barack Obama’s administration…. said: “I think, certainly, the security clearance should be re-evaluated. One must balance the principle of innocent until proven guilty with the less prudential standards that go into giving a security clearance. The pattern of omission by Kushner and others in Donald Trump’s circle increasingly points to a consciousness of guilt. Once a security clearance is granted it’s much harder to take away, and if this pattern of omission had been known when the security clearance was being considered, I doubt it would have been conferred.’”, (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/12/jared-kushner-security-clearance-russia-meeting-donald-trump-jr).
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee also called for Kushner’s security clearance to be reviewed and possibly revoked, in light of the “deeply disturbing” reports that Kushner met with an alleged former Soviet counterintelligence officer in a June 2016 arranged by Donald Trump Jr. [He stated on Twitter:] “Reports Kushner amended security form “should cause his clearance to be reviewed”, and if he was not candid ‘immediately revoked’”., (https://thinkprogress.org/in-congress-growing-calls-to-revoke-jared-kushners-security-clearance-41280e597d67).
Rep. Red Liu (D-Calif) tweeted: “Jared Kushner must lose his security clearance immediately! This is not a partisan issue, it is our national security. #RevokeKushner,” (https://thinkprogress.org/in-congress-growing-calls-to-revoke-jared-kushners-security-clearance-41280e597d67).
Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight [stated that] “They [other government officials with security clearance] would lose their job immediately … Their clearance would be gone,” (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/16/jared-kushner-security-clearance-240575).
Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted, “With Trump Jr. admissions on #RussiaHacking, here’s what must happen:
— Ind. Commission — Revoke Kushner clearance — No sanctions relief” (http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/13/democratic-leader-pelosi-kushner-security-clearance/).
So… add your voice to this outcry and share your opinion regarding reviewing Mr. Kushner’s security clearance or revoking his clearance with our representatives.