White House Whistleblower Alleges Security Clearance Abuse

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Posted: Apr 01, 2019 1:30 PM
White House Whistleblower Alleges Security Clearance Abuse

Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A White House Whistleblower alleged in comments to the House Oversight Committee that the Trump Administration overruled 25 security clearance rejections.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) released a letter Monday that he sent to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Cummings said that Tricia Newbold, adjudications manager in the Personnel Security Office of the White House, talked to committee staff about the matter.

Cummings wrote that Newbold has, “come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress—and the nation—about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years…She has informed the Committee that during the Trump Administration, she and other career officials adjudicated denials of dozens of applications for security clearances that were later overturned.”

CNN reported that Newbold was suspended by the White House office for her allegations against Carl Kline, who was Newbold’s supervisor when he served as the Personnel Security Director at the White House. He currently works at the Department of Defense.

“Newbold, who has worked in the White House Security Office for 19 years,” wrote CNN, “was informed Wednesday that she is being suspended for 14 days for failing to implement and follow new procedures and policies put in place by Kline when he was her supervisor.”

Newbold claimed that the suspension was made because she filed complaints against Kline in the past. She said that Kline acted aggressively at work and discriminated her for having a rare case of dwarfism. Newbold also suggested that Kline was responsible for overruling her team’s security clearance denials, one of them included Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"I know for a fact the way [Kline] overruled adjudications he did not use proper guidelines or mitigating factors. That's in violation," Newbold said to CNN.

Cummings said that Newbold claimed she came forward with the allegations because she felt she would be doing a disservice to her nation if she did not come forward. “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,” she said.

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Newbold told the committee that she was “terrified” of going back to work, but she hopes that her actions will, “bring back the integrity of the office.”

Cummings told Cipollone in the letter that the committee will move forward with the compulsory process given Newbold's testimony and the White House’s "refusal" to assist them in their investigation on security clearances.

"The Committee respects the President’s authority to grant security clearances," Cummings wrote. "However, the White House must respect Congress’ co-equal and independent authority to investigate who has been given access to our nation’s secrets, how they obtained that access, the extent to which national security has been compromised, and whether Congress should amend current laws to improve national security and enhance transparency over these decisions.”