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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

Representing the 8th District of Illinois

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi To John Kelly and White House: Did President Trump Personally Decide To Keep Rob Porter On Staff Despite FBI Warnings?

February 15, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi wrote to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly regarding the questions around Rob Porter’s security clearance and whether the President personally requested that Mr. Porter remain in his position despite the FBI’s warnings. The text of the Congressman’s letter follows and his signed letter is viewable here.

 

General John Kelly

White House Chief of Staff

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear General Kelly,

 

In light of the last week’s revelations surrounding former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, it is clear that this White House must answer to Congress about how staff security clearances are being processed by this White House. In particular, I request that you clarify several recent and public reports regarding the White House’s policy concerning interim security clearances.

On February 13th, Politico reported that the White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last November. On February 14, NBC News reported that this problem with more pervasive than previously thought, with over 130 political appointees working without a permanent clearance[1]. According to the internal email cited by Politico, the White House Personnel Security Office advises that while it would allow staffers who had already been granted interim security clearances to maintain them, new hires would need to be granted full security clearances and requests for interim clearances were expected to be denied[2]. This report indicates an awareness that the White House’s overreliance on interim security clearances was creating vulnerabilities, yet there are still senior officials in this White House who continue to handle classified material under an interim security clearance. I respectfully request that you confirm whether this ban is still in place, and if the White House continues to deny requests for interim security clearances.

Additionally, this report alleges that you had privately expressed concerns about the number of people working in the White House on interim clearances, and had even considered firing someone who would not be able to secure a full clearance. Yet, while the FBI informed you and the White House that Mr. Porter – among others –  would not qualify for a permanent clearance, he was still allowed to remain. I therefore ask that you clarify whether the President personally requested that Mr. Porter remain in his job, despite the FBI’s warnings.

Please have this information to me within the next two weeks. If you are unable to do so, please provide a date at which time this information will be available.

 

Sincerely,

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Member of Congress


[1] “Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances”, NBC News, 14 February 2018

[2] “White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last fall”, Politico. 13 February 2018.