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Whistleblower says White House granted 25 security clearances after they were initially denied
A longtime employee of the White House Personnel Security Office told Congress last month that at least 25 high-level security clearances were granted to people working in the White House despite "serious disqualifying issues" that resulted in their applications being denied.
Tricia Newbold, an 18-year employee of the security office who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee on March 23 that some of her office's denials of clearances were later overruled amid concerns of "foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct," according to Politico.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
Newbold kept a list of some 25 officials she said were granted clearances over the security office's objections. The list has not yet been made public.
There is nothing barring the president or his designees from overturning the assessments of career officials. But Ms. Newbold sought to portray the decisions as unusual and frequent, and, in any case, irregular compared to the processes usually followed by her office to mitigate security risks.
"Once we adjudicate it, the president absolutely has the right to override and still grant the clearance, but we owe it to the president and the American people to do what is expected of us, and our job is to adjudicate national security adjudications regardless of influence," she told the committee, according to the staff's memo.
"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 told the committee, according to The Washington Post.
In January, NBC News reported that Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, was granted a security clearance after being "rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about foreign influence on him."
Kushner, according to NBC, was one of "at least 30 cases" in which Carl Kline, the director of the White House's security office, overruled his subordinates and granted clearances. In his case, Trump personally directed his then-chief of staff John Kelly to give him a top-secret clearance, a request that made him "so uncomfortable that he documented the request in writing," according to The Washington Post.
SEE ALSO: House panel demands details on Trump ordering security clearance be granted for son-in-law
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Investigation clears former Naval War College president, who offered free hugs and games of Twister, of misconduct
NEWPORT -- The Office of Naval Inspector General has cleared former Naval War College president Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley of most of the allegations of misconduct claimed to have occurred after he took command of the 136-year-old school in July 2016, The Providence Journal has learned.
Harley, in one of a series of interviews with the The Journal, called the findings "deeply gratifying." He said many of the most sensational allegations -- "offers of 'free hugs' and games of Twister in his office" -- reflected a misunderstanding of his sense of humor, which he describes as "quirky," but which he says was intended to ease tensions in what can be a stressful environment.
The allegations, reported last year by the Associated Press, prompted a national controversy that led to Harley leaving the college presidency after almost three years in office.
The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.
Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.
Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.
The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.