President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been stripped of his access to the nation’s top secrets, officials said after his security clearance was downgraded, CNN reported. But, Kushner is not the only one. According to three persons familiar with the situation, all White House aides working on the highest-level interim clearances – at the Top Secret/SCI-level – were informed in a memo sent last week that their clearances would be downgraded to the Secret level.
The SCI acronym stands for sensitive compartmented information, a category of information that comes from sensitive intelligence sources and must be walled off, Politico informs.
The memo was not signed by chef of staff John Kelly. Trump could grant Kushner a permanent clearance, but the same day the memo was sent, he said that he would leave tat decision to his chief of staff.
“I will let General Kelly make that decision. I have no doubt he’ll make the right decision,” Trump stated.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not want to comment the matter.
“We actually haven’t commented on Jared’s issue indicated, but we have commented on his ability to do his job. Which, he’s a valued member of the team and he will continue to do the important work that he’s been doing since he’s started in the administration,” she said.
According to Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell, the changes would not affect Kushner’s ability to continue doing the work he has been assigned by the president. An unnamed person familiar with the matter said that Kushner has accepted the decision and “will not ask for special permission from Trump.
The latest developments have caused a rift between Kushner and Kelly and Trump is aware of that, several sources said. According to some Republicans, the clearance downgrade could undercut Kushner’s ability to influence policy decision-making in the West Wing. Now he will be unable to attend meetings where the most sensitive national secrets are discussed. Kushner will also be unable to see the president’s daily brief, the most highly classified document that Trump sees.
“He cannot see the PDB, not a chance. He no longer has access to a range of intelligence information that ordinarily someone in his position and somebody with his responsibilities would normally be privy to in order to perform their functions,” said Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in national security law and clearances.