This won’t ruin dinner for normal Americans. But in Washington it’s a big deal, very big deal.
Are you sitting down? Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, has had his security clearance reduced from Top Secret to just Secret. That means, for instance, he’s not supposed to see all the super-secret stuff his boss and wife’s father routinely sees. Things like the Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefing.
Washington, as you may have noticed over the years, is obsessed with status and access. In Chicago, they call it clout. In Congress, seniority.
On the sidewalks you’ll see White House staffers going for lunch with their security passes flapping in the wind as if they don’t want you to notice where they work. Like nurses wearing surgical garb for a quick 7-Eleven run. Having a security clearance is majorly status.
A number of Trump aides have been working lo these 13-plus months with temporary security clearances from the FBI. That kinda blew up last month when it was discovered the delay in approving one aide’s top secret status was because he allegedly hit his two ex-wives.
Rob Porter is gone now and Chief of Staff John Kelly issued a ruling last week that anyone with temporary clearances would be stepped down to lesser clearances.
Wow! We’ve got foreign countries hacking into 21.4 million federal personnel files, meddling with social media during a political campaign and contractors leaking secrets to WikiLeaks and others.
But, hey, the story du jour is the security clearance for another rich New Yorker. Reporters asked Sarah Sanders about it at today’s White House briefing:
We actually haven’t commented on Jared’s issue indicated, but we have commented on his ability to do his job. Which, he’s a valued member of the team and he will continue to do the important work that he’s been doing since he’s started in the administration.
To make it good with the boss, who values family above pretty much everything, Kelly added:
As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico.
Trump said he was leaving the entire issue up to Kelly. Good move.
Now, enjoy your dinner in secure peace. You’ve been briefed and cleared.