Jared Kushner Still Awaiting a Final Security Clearance Determination

Security Clearance

Image via EdLedford.com

Jared Kushner, advisor to the President of the United States, still awaits final adjudication of his security clearance. We’ve been following the discussion on Kushner and the efficacy of his having a security clearance from day one.  And have duly noted how political dynamics have been at play as congress and the media dance around the SF-86 and subsequent security clearance interviews of Kushner.

Security Clearance Backlog is Real

Main stream media is noting it has been 300 days. Politico, citing those anonymous sources in-the-know calls out how “Many senior White House officials have obtained a permanent security clearance — some received the clearances five months ago or longer — but interviews and paperwork continue for Kushner, a senior campaign adviser who joined the administration on Day One. People familiar with the situation say Kushner’s interim clearance allows him to view sensitive material, and that it is valid unless revoked.”

They are correct. The interim clearance allows him to continue to perform his duties, and like so many others seemingly bogged down in the clearance adjudication backlog.

Every FSO is no doubt reading these headlines and smiling, knowing they too have an engineer or a project manager who has been operating off an interim clearance for 7, 10, or 15 months as the adjudication process plods its way forward toward ultimate adjudication. The security clearance backlog is real. Nearly 700,000 are waiting, and the fact that Kushner is caught in the backlog is not such a bad thing. It highlights the dearth of resources available to process and adjudicate the mountain of security clearances in the pipeline.

There are clues, however, that the process is moving forward in a positive manner. We have not seen any evidence Department of Justice attorneys or FBI special agents have been brought into the mix, as was the case with the senior staffer within the congress who lied on his SF-86, and then again during subsequent interviews when he had the opportunity to adjust the SF-86 contents to the government’s satisfaction. This former staffer found himself indicted. Kushner and his attorney appear to be fully cooperative.

What next for Kushner’s clearance?

Bottom line, the security clearance interview process continues for Kushner, the adjudication of his clearance will follow. Speaking from first-hand experience, the more complex your life outside the borders of the United States, the more complicated the security clearance interview process is, as the investigators seek to understand your life as detailed on the SF-86.

For now, how can we say this delicately, “Jared Kushner, welcome to the 700,000 club.

Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008).