The basic form required to get a security clearance, known as an SF86, asks about one’s arrest record, foreign contacts, association with organizations dedicated to the use of violence, and association with groups that advocate use of force to discourage individuals from exercising their constitutional rights.
All of those questions could be seriously complicated for Bannon, who’s been celebrated by American white nationalists, feted by Europe’s ultra-right, and arrested for choking his wife.
It’s a problem without much, if any, precedent in the White House’s modern history. There’s rarely been someone with so many questionable ties appointed to such a lofty position. In fact, security clearance experts tell The Daily Beast, Bannon’s background would create serious problems for any other government employee—if he weren’t so close to the president.
But unlike the nation’s soldiers and spies, the alt-right Breitbart ringleader will get special treatment. Bannon has an ace-in-the-hole: the backing of the president-elect of the United States, who could intervene to demand Bannon get clearance anyways.