Jared Kushner Loses Top Secret Security Clearance, Ivanka Trump's Access Status Unknown
Jared Kushner‘s top secret security clearance was downgraded after he worked for more than a year with a temporary clearance that allowed him access to confidential information at the White House.
The move prevents Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, from having access to any sensitive documents which were once available to him.
Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in national security law and clearances, tells PEOPLE the downgrade “will severely hamper Kushner’s ability to perform many of the sensitive and senior-level functions to which he has become accustomed.”
“It’s difficult to envision a way in which he can serve as the equivalent of a diplomatic envoy with only access to Secret information,” Moss says. “He won’t be privy to the full range of intelligence on the various foreign officials involved in the discussions, nor will he likely be able to learn about most raw intelligence gathered through intelligence intercepts.”
Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, serves as a senior adviser at the White House. Moss says the downgrade in his security clearance would only impact her if certain issues or conduct overlap, such as joint foreign financial exposure.
“Merely having a spouse lose access to classified information on its own, doesn’t impact your own access,” he says.
Mark Zaid, a national security attorney tells PEOPLE, “Ivanka’s clearance will be evaluated independent that of Jared’s, although there is overlap between the two from the substantive standpoint.”
As for whether it will be public knowledge if her security clearance is downgraded as well, Zaid says, “Only if someone leaks it.”
“We shouldn’t know any of this,” he says. “All of this is privacy protected and either the White House has to make an affirmative decision to release it, Kushner’s lawyers have to make a decision or Ivanka’s or someone is leaking it, which has mostly been the case.”
Kushner’s clearance level was downgraded to “secret” in a memo that was sent Friday, Politico reported.
According to The New York Times, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly is cutting down the number of people who work at the White House without permanent clearances.
Kushner and former senior White House official Rob Porter, who was accused of physical and emotional abuse by past partners, both worked with interim security clearances for several months because of issues completing their FBI background checks, the Times reported.
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Trump, who has the power to grant Kushner permanent clearance, told reporters last week he was leaving the decision to Kelly, according to the Associated Press.
“I will let General Kelly make that decision,” Trump said. “I have no doubt he’ll make the right decision.”
Kushner’s attorney, Abby Lowell, told the AP his ability to do his job will not be affected by the change in his clearance level.
Peter Mirijanian, a Kushner spokesman, told the wire, “Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for these clearance reviews to take this long in a new administration, and that the current backlogs are now being addressed.”
Dozens of other White House aides have also been working without permanent security clearances for more than a year.