- At least 25 individuals received security clearances in the Trump administration after initially being denied, according to a White House whistleblower.
- Tricia Newbold, who works in the White House’s Personnel Security Office, privately testified to Congress about these issues. She said speaking with lawmakers was her “last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”
- “These individuals had a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” according to a memo written to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
- The White House has faced consistent criticism on the issue of security clearances, particularly regarding Jared Kushner.
A White House whistleblower told Congress that senior officials in the Trump administration granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals after they’d initially been denied.
The whistleblower, identified as Tricia Newbold, works in the White House’s Personnel Security Office and alleged that the initial denials were later overturned without proper adherence to procedures meant to avoid potential risks to national security.
In late March, Newbold testified about security clearance issues in the Trump administration before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
A memo prepared for lawmakers on the committee says Newbold is an an “18-year, non-partisan career employee” and came forward “at great personal risk to expose grave and continuing failures of the White House security clearance system.”
Newbold in a private interview with House Oversight and Reform Committee staff said she “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.”
The 25 individuals have not been identified, but include two current senior White House officials and others with consistent access to the office of the president.
The memo added, “According to Ms. Newbold, these individuals had a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct.”
The president has the authority to overrule security clearance denials and Newbold acknowledged this, but expressed concern the denials were occurring without “proper analysis, documentation, or a full understanding and acceptance of the risks.”
Newbold said she raised her concerns with top White House staffers but nothing was done and she felt testifying to Congress was her “last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”
She described the security clearance issues as “systematic.”
“It’s an office issue, and we’re not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode,” Newbold added.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
The Trump administration has repeatedly faced criticism on the issue of security clearances, particularly in relation to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner reportedly received a top-secret security clearance under the direct orders of the president despite concerns from other administration officials.
Democratic lawmakers have blasted Trump’s reported decision on Kushner and the reports were a contributing factor in the House Oversight Committee launching their investigation into the security clearances.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member on the committee, slammed Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s chairman, for his “unilateral” decision to “release cherry-picked excerpts from one witness” early on in the course of the investigation.
“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, a close ally of Trump, said in a statement on Monday. “Chairman Cummings has departed from longstanding bipartisan oversight of the security clearance process to advance his partisan efforts to attack the President.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.