The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded, significantly reducing his access to classified information, according to two people informed of the decision.
Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the “top secret/sensitive compartmented information” level for more than a year. Now he is authorized to access information only at the lower “secret” level, according to a White House official and a person familiar with the decision, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Neither source was authorized to discuss the decision publicly.
Tuesday’s news set off rampant speculation among Trump allies that Kushner’s days in the White House might be numbered. On the same day, the departure of a third Kushner ally in the West Wing in as many months was announced. And the selection of a Kushner ally to serve as Trump’s 2020 campaign manager appeared to suggest the campaign could provide Kushner with a convenient place to land after his White House duties end. Kushner lost his access to the nation’s deepest secrets after chief of staff John Kelly ordered that White House officials with interim clearances pending since before June 1, 2017, be cut off if they hadn’t received permanent clearances by last Friday. A White House official confirmed to The Associated Press that Kelly’s order has been implemented.
President Donald Trump could have reversed Kelly’s decision and unilaterally offered Kushner a clearance, but deferred to Kelly. Kushner is one of dozens of White House aides who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year. His attorney told the AP that Kushner’s ability to do his job won’t be affected by any change to his clearance.
“Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for these clearance reviews to take this long in a new administration, and that the current backlogs are now being addressed,” said Peter Mirijanian, a Kushner spokesman.
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 freewheeling reach in the foreign policy space — which was viewed as undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — already had been curtailed somewhat under Kelly.