Presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner’s interim security clearance has been downgraded, preventing him from viewing sensitive documents to which he once had unlimited access.
All White House employees with the highest-level interim security clearances, including Kushner, were informed on Friday that their rights were being downgraded from Top Secret to Secret, Politico reported Tuesday.
The move follows through on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s pledge earlier this month that the dozens of White House employees with interim clearances would lose their temporary privileges by Friday, February 23.
President Trump has the right to override Kelly and grant Kushner a permanent clearance, but Trump said on Friday that he was leaving such decisions to Kelly.
Until now, Kushner, who has been tasked with restoring ties with Mexico and overseeing the administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace push, had access to the most sensitive of documents, including the president’s daily security briefing. Kelly issued a statement last week that regardless of Kushner’s clearance level, he had “full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio.”
Kushner has yet to be granted a permanent clearance because his original background check and application forms lacked many details of his contacts with foreign officials and his overseas travel, requiring him to continue to amend and supplement his responses through last June. Some of those business dealings have reportedly been scrutinized by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Kelly’s move to tighten access to classified documents has been seen by some as an attempt to sideline Kushner, though others view it, as Politico wrote, as an attempt by Kelly “to impose the same sort of discipline on the White House clearance process that he has tried to impose on the West Wing staff more broadly.”