Kushner clearance at risk after John Kelly-mandated White House security overhaul

Rob Porter's Ex-Wives Reportedly Got Apology from Orrin Hatch Over Initial Defensive Statement

Kushner clearance at risk after John Kelly-mandated White House security overhaul

Porter resigned two weeks ago after his ex-wives came forward to say that he had abused them - allegations which the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered during Porter's background check and informed the White House about, yet somehow did not lead to the cancellation of his interim security clearance.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly signed off Friday on an overhaul of security clearance procedures in the wake of criticism over his response to the Rob Porter affair.

"The American people deserve a White House staff that meets the highest standards and that has been carefully vetted - especially those who work closely with the President or handle sensitive national security information", read a memo Kelly sent to key staffers and Cabinet officials.

Kelly, who prizes his reputation for order, veers throughout the document from talking up his efforts to bring order to the White House while also stating that reforms must be implemented, reflecting his desire inside of the White House to stay on as President Donald Trump's top aide rather than step away following Porter's resignation.

Kelly said in his Friday memo that he "ended the granting of new interim clearances absent extraordinary circumstances and my explicit approval" in September.

Porter resigned from is position as staff secretary last week after DailyMail.com published detailed, on-the-record allegations from two ex-wives who say the former Trump aide abused them. Porter during their marriages. Sources have told CNN that both Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn were aware of the allegations for months before they became public.

The deepening scandal called into question the administration's veracity as Republicans and Democrats pressured Mr. Kelly to detail what had happened. If any derogatory information turns up, no interim clearance is issued and the worker must wait until the full investigation is finished, said the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the clearance process and demanded anonymity.

Kushner clearance at risk after John Kelly-mandated White House security overhaul

Kelly's plan would limit interim clearances to 180 days, with an option to extend them another 90 days if background checks had not turned up significant troubling information.

The Personnel Security Office is said to have had Porter's completed FBI background check and was conducting its own investigation when DailyMail.com printed the ex-wives' allegations.

But Kelly's memo also sought to pin much of the blame on processes that predated his tenure as chief of staff and President Donald Trump's inauguration, noting that the Porter saga "focused huge attention on a clearance process that has been in place for multiple administrations".

The allegations against Porter, including a photo of one of the women with a black eye, rocked the White House, which gave varying accounts of who knew what and when.

The memo is also copied to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, proposed a series of tweaks meant to limit temporary security clearances, but which also seemed created to draw a line under the Rob Porter scandal.

Kelly had been aware of the allegations since a year ago, yet Porter was allowed to remain on staff with interim access to classified material at the highest level while his background check was adjudicated. That needs to be revisited.

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