Udall, Heinrich Say White House Reliance On Interim Security Clearances Troubling

WASHINGTON, D.C. Following testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that revealed significant discrepancies in the White House’s account of how long former Staff Secretary Rob Porter was permitted access to classified information without a full security clearance, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined a group of senators in writing to FBI Director Christopher Wray to raise concerns regarding the Trump administration’s “troubling reliance on the use of interim security clearances and whether there has been any mishandling of classified information by individuals entrusted with our national security secrets.”
“You also testified yesterday that the FBI completed a background investigation into White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter in late July, yet he remained in his position until last week,” the senators wrote. “Who else is currently working at the White House following the completion of a background investigation without being able to obtain a permanent security clearance?”
In addition to Udall and Heinrich, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
During Senator Heinrich’s questioning in the Senate Intelligence Committee open hearing this week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed that people with temporary security clearance should get only limited access to sensitive, classified information and referred to the process as “broken.”  
Last week, Udall, Blumenthal, Hirono, Baldwin, and Booker joined seven additional Senators writing to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn to raise serious concerns regarding Porter’s ongoing access to classified information even after Kelly was notified that Porter was unable to obtain a security clearance.
The full text of today’s letter is available here.

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