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Whistle-blower Newbold: 25 security clearances overturned in Trump White House

Sensitive and classified documents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)
April 01, 2019

The White House security clearance process has come under scrutiny after it was revealed today that a whistle-blower said more than two dozen security clearance denials have been reversed under the Trump Administration.

Twenty-five security clearances were overturned after they had initially been denied, Tricia Newbold, an adjudications manager in the Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee during a March 23 interview, calling her comments to the committee a “last hope.”

“I do not see a way forward positively in our office without coming to an external entity, and that’s because I have raised my concerns throughout the [Executive Office of the President] to career staffers, as well as political staffers,” Newbold told the committee, according to a 10-page memo released Monday. “And I want it known that this is a systematic, it’s an office issue, and we’re not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode.”

“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,” Newbold also said. “I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”

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Newbold has worked in the security clearance office for nearly two decades and has served both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The news comes as Democrat and Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings says the committee will begin to authorize subpoenas during a meeting on Tuesday regarding concerns for the security clearance process.

White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline is said to be the first official who will be subpoenaed, and also the first official with whom Newbold had raised concerns about the security clearance process.

Republican and ranking committee member Rep. Jim Jordan called Cummings’ actions “reckless.”

“It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing that Chairman Cummings is now using this sensitive topic as a pretense for a partisan attack on the White House. Chairman Cummings’ investigation is not about restoring integrity to the security clearance process, it is an excuse to go fishing through the personal files of dedicated public servants,” Jordan said.

Cummings has said the committee wouldn’t need to interview those subpoenaed if the White House ends up providing sufficient documentation for officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, Trump’s former personal aide John McEntee, Flynn’s former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, former White House Staff Secretary Robert Porter, Robin Townley and Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and advisor, CBS News also reported.