The Slatest

Jared Kushner’s Top Secret Security Clearance Was Rejected Until a Trump Official Reportedly Overruled the Decision and 30 Others

Jared Kushner attends a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 2, 2019.
Jared Kushner attends a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 2, 2019. NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

Professional son-in-law Jared Kushner’s winding road to getting top secret clearance was helped along by a Trump-installed administration official who overruled two career White House security specialists that had rejected Kushner’s application, NBC News reports. Even more disturbing was that Kushner’s application was reportedly one of at least 30 cases that Trump’s pick to head the personnel security office of the Executive Office of the President intervened to overrule rejected security clearance applications for incoming Trump officials. In the three years prior, NBC News notes, only one application had been overruled by the director of the personnel security office.


Carl Kline, a former Pentagon official, was put in charge of personnel security office in May 2017 and disregarded the concerns raised in Kushner’s background check over foreign contacts and financial entanglements, granting the senior adviser top secret clearance. That gave the presidential family member access to information so sensitive it is capable of doing “exceptionally grave damage” to U.S. national security if it falls into the wrong hands. At the time, Kushner was also seeking even greater clearance to access “sensitive compartmented information,” enabling him to see the country’s most tightly held secrets, but the CIA, which is in charge of approving officials for this heightened access, has so far not granted that clearance to Kushner. “After reviewing the file, CIA officers who make clearance decisions balked, two of the people familiar with the matter said,” according to NBC News. “One called over to the White House security division, wondering how Kushner got even a top secret clearance, the sources said.”