Security Clearances (or Lack Thereof) in the Trump White House | WYPR

Security Clearances (or Lack Thereof) in the Trump White House

Feb 21, 2018

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Congressional Research Service estimates that about 4.3 million people hold permanent government security clearances, but many close advisers to President Trump do not -- including presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Last week, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, said the system of approving security clearances for top officials is “broken” and must be overhauled. 

A couple of days after Coates’ Senate testimony, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrote a memo outlining an overhaul of how the White House manages security-clearance investigations. In that memo, obtained by the Washington Post, some White House staffers with Top Secret interim clearances, a group that may include Kushner, will lose their clearances on Friday.

Tom’s guests today are two reporters who have been covering national security matters for years. Deb Reichmann has written about national security for the Associated Press for the past six years.  Before that, she was an AP reporter in Afghanistan. She also covered the George W. Bush White House and the final year of the Clinton White House for AP. She joins us on the line from the AP studios in Washington. 

Scott Shane is a reporter with the investigative unit of the New York Times. He’s written about national security as a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Times since 2004. He’s also the author of several books, including Dismantling Utopia, on the Soviet collapse, and Objective Troy, about the American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.