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Also see: Collusion; Russia; FBI;  Secret Service; cyber security; money laundering;

    Jump to:  2018;    2019;   2020; 

-- 2017 --

March 7: H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, spoke at a naturalization ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia, earlier this month where an Iraqi family he sponsored became US citizens ...

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March 12: Intruder breaches White House grounds, arrested near residence entrance

April 5: Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's chief strategist, has been removed from his permanent seat at the National Security Council ...

April 5: President Trump said on Wednesday that he thought that the former national security adviser Susan E. Rice may have committed a crime by seeking the identities of Trump associates who were swept up in the surveillance of foreign officials by American spy agencies and that other Obama administration officials may also have been involved.Mr. Trump ... did not make clear what crime he was accusing Ms. Rice of committing. It is legal and not unusual for a national security adviser to request the identities of Americans who are mentioned in intelligence reports provided.

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April 6: With Bannon out, White House gets serious about national security ... The NSC is increasingly becoming the locus of the key decision-making about the United States' place in the world, in part because the State Department under the Trump administration is barely functioning, while almost all of the key policymaking positions at the Defense Department remain unfilled ... Bannon should never have had a permanent seat on the NSC as he is a political operative and the NSC has traditionally been a place where American interests are considered rather than narrow Republican or Democratic interests.

April 6: The significance of having an NSC staffed with officials with real expertise and experience cannot be underestimated at a time when both the State Department and the Defense Department are only thinly staffed in their top echelons. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, for instance, is the only senior Pentagon official to be confirmed at the Pentagon.

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April 14: Among [protester] concerns: the president's foreign ties could pose a national security risk and his potential conflicts of interest might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

May 15: President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. ... [that] partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. ... For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

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May 15: In his meeting with [Russian Foreign Minister] Lavrov
, Trump ... “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange. ... Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat. ... “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

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May 16: President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday he had the right to share information with Russia related to terrorism and other issues, his first public response to the revelation he disclosed classified information at an Oval Office meeting last week. ... "As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety, Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism," he tweeted. Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed to CNN that the main points of the Post story are accurate: The President shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister. ... The ability to protect [the] source whoever he is, wherever he is has been seriously undermined ...

... national security adviser, H.R. McMaster ... "At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the President did not disclose any military operations that weren't already publicly known," he said. "I was in the room. It didn't happen."
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May 22: Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is invoking his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination on Monday, refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

May 22: President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't provide records to the Senate intelligence committee and will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to a source close to Flynn.

Flynn's refusal to cooperate comes as he faces scrutiny in several inquiries, including on Capitol Hill and a federal grand jury that has issued subpoenas to associates of the ex-national security adviser.

October 14: Intel leaders urge Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday that members of Congress who are trying to restrict the bureau's access to information obtained through the monitoring of foreign nationals are jeopardizing national security.

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The Section 702 program, first amended to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012, allows intelligence agencies to legally monitor emails and phone calls of foreign nationals outside of the US and is set to expire at the end of the year.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Wray said Friday that narrowing the ability of the FBI to utilize the information would be a "self-inflicted wound" that "would create a serious risk to the American public."
October 19: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime opponent of warrantless searches of Americans’ communications, is planning to introduce legislation next week along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to overhaul Section 702, according to Wyden’s spokesman.

October 19: Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday that she has yet to see a national security strategy emerge more than nine months into Donald Trump's presidency ... She noted that many positions remain unfilled in the State Department. ... Albright was secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. Before then, she was the US ambassador to the United Nations for four years.

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October 19: Department of Homeland Security press secretary David Lapan, the voice of the department and a longtime colleague of White House chief of staff John Kelly, is leaving the Trump administration...

Lapan began telling people this week of his move to the private sector, a source familiar with his plans said. In confirming the news, Lapan said he would be joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as senior director of communications and public affairs at the end of the month.

November 28: North Korea warning: U.S. security abilities are eroding and must be rebuilt ... The combination of Trump, State Department cuts and NSA hacks is putting us at risk.

December 1: Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn leaves a D.C. courthouse following his guilty plea amid shouts of "Lock him up."

ABC reports Michael Flynn promised "full cooperation to the Mueller team" and is prepared to testify that as a candidate, Donald Trump "directed him to make contact with the Russians."

-- 2018 --

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January 11: Trump Is On His Way to Record-Setting Defense Spending in 2018

As the president doubles down on wars abroad, companies like Boeing stand to reap billions.

February 9: Dozens of Trump officials still lack full security clearance

February 14: At least 100 White House officials served with 'interim' security clearances until November

Top administration officials working without a security clearance included ousted senior staffer Rob Porter, senior advisors Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, the special assistant to the president for national security affairs and the National Security Council’s senior director for international cybersecurity.

White House staffers lacking permanent security clearance reportedly have access to the President’s Daily Brief.

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“The security clearance process is critical to keeping America’s secrets,” former congressman Mike Rogers told CNN. “Foreign intelligence services look for vulnerabilities in individuals with access to our most sensitive information. Not following the process is a disservice not only to the individual but to our countries [sic] security interests.”

February 28: ... the sustainability of [Kushner's] role as a top foreign policy adviser to Trump [is] in doubt because he will have access to far fewer government secrets and cannot see the Presidential Daily Brief, the collection of the spy community's treasures prepared for the commander in chief.

[Kushner's downgrade from "temporary Top Secret" to Secret] appears to make it all but impossible for Kushner to do his job even though the White House and his lawyer say that is not the case.

But how for example can he carry out his duties running the Middle East peace process or liaising with top Gulf powers if he is not privy to the latest intelligence about his interlocutors or other key regional players like Iran?

Similarly, Kushner could find himself asked to leave sensitive meetings in the White House or force top intelligence or foreign policy officials to avoid the most sensitive subjects in meetings that he is in with the President.

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"He can't see intercepted communications -- that's top secret, he's now downgraded to secret ... he can't see the most secret CIA information about their informants," said Phil Mudd, a former CIA and FBI official who is now a CNN national security analyst.

"He can't see some of the stuff our Western allies see," he added.

Ultimately, unless Kushner is cleared by the FBI to receive a permanent security clearance or gets a waiver from the President his diminished role will spur fresh speculation about his longevity as a White House staffer.

February 27: [Kushner's] downgrade would mean that anyone giving top-secret material to Kushner could be accused of mishandling classified material, according to David Priess, who wrote a history of the President's Daily Brief, the highest-level intelligence document produced in the United States. Still, a president has the ultimate authority to classify or declassify information, so he could show the brief — covering hot spots around the globe, U.S. covert operations and intelligence about world leaders— "to whomever he damn well pleases," Priess tweeted.

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The White House's handling of security clearances has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had worked for more than a year with only interim clearance. Porter, whose job gave him constant access to the most sensitive of documents, had been accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. The White House has repeatedly changed its timeline about who knew what and when about the allegations.

Kushner has been forced to repeatedly correct omissions in his "SF-86," the government-wide form used to apply for clearances, as well as his financial disclosure forms, which experts said could delay or even nix his chances of earning a clearance through the normal process.

February 27: Friday’s decision is the first change to the clearance process instituted in the wake of the Porter debacle that will directly affect Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to Trump and until now has had access to the president’s daily brief, the most highly classified document that Trump sees.

“He cannot see the PDB [President's Daily Brief], not a chance,” said Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in national security law and clearances. “He no longer has access to a range of intelligence information that ordinarily someone in his position and somebody with his responsibilities would normally be privy to in order to perform their functions.”

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Moss said Kushner and others will be debriefed by officials in the White House security office, an event scheduled to take place Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. “They’re going to give him a list, ‘Here’s what you’ve been debriefed from, you’ve been debriefed from this program and that compartment, you no longer have any access to it, and any breach of that would be a serious security violation and a possible criminal issue.’”

March 3: A man ... shot himself beyond the north fence line outside the White House Saturday, a law enforcement official told CBS News' Pat Milton. U.S. Secret Service responded to the sound of shots fired.

March 9: Democrats seek subpoenas for White House security clearance data

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March 27: Arrest made in case of suspicious packages sent to D.C.-area military and intel sites

Suspect Tranh Cong Phan, 43, was arrested at his home in the Seattle area.

March 29: EX-CIA Chief John Brennan Describes Trump as a National Security Risk

April 24: Trump Reportedly Uses Private Cell Phone More Often Amid Kelly’s Waning Influence

“This is potentially a gold mine of intelligence,” James Clapper said.

Trump isn’t the first resident of the White House to have access to a private cell phone. Former President Barack Obama used a Blackberry while in office, but it was outfitted with security measures and specialized encryption. It’s unclear if Trump’s phone has the same protections.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the reports about Trump using a personal cell phone troubling and said that such communications could be targeted by foreign intelligence.

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“He may be keeping things from his chief of staff, but he will elicit the interest of foreign intelligence services,” Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon. “This is potentially a gold mine of intelligence for them. Even if he is using some kind of secure app, there’s all kind of inferential things you can derive from the fact he’s doing that ... even if you don’t get the content.”

May 15: Top intelligence official says Chinese ZTE cellphones pose security risk to U.S.

President Trump wants to help the Chinese firm, but a top intel official told the Senate that ZTE cellphones may be used by the Chinese government to spy.

May 17: Man yelling 'anti-Trump' rhetoric opens fire at President's Miami-area golf resort

Perez [Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez] said the man's immediate motive seemed to be to lure police into a gunfight.

"He did succeed (in luring police), and he did lose," Perez said.

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March 23: Sink hole appears on White House lawn

"Sinkholes, like this one, are common occurrences in the Washington area following heavy rain like the DC metro area has experienced in the last week. We do not believe it poses any risk to the White House or is representative of a larger problem,"

May 24: Trump Identifies His Trade Weapon of Choice, to the Dismay of Congress

The president’s use of a national security law to threaten tariffs, most recently on imported cars, has lawmakers, the auto industry and foreign trade partners worried

July 8: What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?

Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?

A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

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July 19: Trump's immigration policies were supposed to make the border safer. Experts say the opposite is happening.

President Donald Trump has said that he wants immigration policy that secures the border. But his aggressive policy has instead resulted in organized crime groups preying on droves of desperate asylum seekers who have been turned away by US authorities, according to people familiar with the smuggling operations.

July 24: Paul Ryan: Trump is just 'trolling people' with his security clearances threat

The White House said Monday that the president is considering revoking the security clearances of several former national security officials critical of his policies

July 25: The Adidas soccer ball Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to President Donald Trump at their summit in Helsinki had a chip with a small antenna inside, but the chip is a feature of all World Cup soccer balls, according to a report from Bloomberg

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July 26:
Donald Trump assassination market appears on blockchain platform Augur

Blockchain technology is often touted for its potential to transform everything from how we vote, to the way we pay. But the digital ledgers also enable much darker use cases, as demonstrated by a blockchain platform that has been used to set up an online assassination market.

Users of the recently-established Augur protocol are using its underlying blockchain technology to bet on the deaths of high-profile public figures, including US President Donald Trump, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Set up by the Forecast Foundation, Augur allows people to choose an event to predict, create a market for it, and then trade shares on the outcome of the event. “Anything is fair game,” the website states, “from the next presidential election to the success of a company’s product.”

The cryptocurrency associated with Augur is currently the 40th most valuable, according to CoinMarketCap, with a market cap of over $340 million, but trading on the Augur protocol is done with ethereum – the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency behind bitcoin.

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August 15: Ex-CIA Chief says Americans should worry after Trump revokes his security clearance.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has revoked former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president's authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics.

"I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information, including by controlling access to it. Today, in fulfilling that responsibility, I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency," Trump said in a statement dictated in the White House briefing room by his press secretary Sarah Sanders. "Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation's most closely held secrets."

August 15: In response, Brennan tweeted hours later: "This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all American's, including intelligence professioanls, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."

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Last month, the White House said they were looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey; former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

On Wednesday, Sanders added to the list Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok (who was fired from the bureau last week) and former FBI general counsel Lisa Page.

August 15: Sen. John Kennedy defended President Donald Trump's decision to revoke John Brennan's security clearance and called the former CIA director a "butthead" who doesn't need the clearance.

"I think most Americans look at our national intelligence experts as being above politics. Mr. Brennan has demonstrated that that's not the case. He's been totally political. I think I called him a 'butthead' and I meant it. I think he's given the national intelligence community a bad name,"

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On Twitter: If there ever was a case of the pot calling kettle black, this has got to be it. Brennan will forget more than Trump will ever know when it comes to protecting US national security.
August 15

August 15: Brennan on Tuesday rebuked Trump on Twitter after the president attacked former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman

“It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation,” he wrote.

August 15: Brennan faces no formal charges or allegations of violating any regulations or laws. Another former CIA director, John Deutch, had his security clearance revoked in 1999, three years after he resigned as CIA chief, after he violated security rules for keeping classified information on computers at his home.

Ned Price, a former National Security Council spokesman for Obama and former CIA official, said Trump was trying to shift public attention away from the critical book by Manigault Newman.

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"The proximate target was John Brennan, but the real intent of today’s announcement was to simultaneously shift and silence," he said.'s-security-clearance-slamming-critic

August 15: Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Wednesday that his decision — and threat to revoke other clearances — stemmed from his frustrations with the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and potential collusion with his campaign.

August 17: Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner on Friday said he plans to present an amendment preventing President Trump from “arbitrarily revoking security clearances.”

August 17: White House drafts more clearance cancellations demanded by Trump

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October 3: 1 arrested in case of suspicious letters sent to Trump, others

The three letters did not contain ricin, but the substance was castor seeds, from which the poison is derived, an official said.

October 3: Trump has lost $1 billion in personal wealth since running for president

Some wealthy patrons are steering clear of Trump properties, saying the country club experience is now ruined "by metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs."

October 3: A nationwide wireless emergency test was sent out Wednesday afternoon, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted its first "presidential alert."

While users can choose not to participate in messages of missing children and natural disasters, they are required to receive presidential alerts, which are sent out at the direction of the White House and activated by FEMA.

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Rules outlined in a 2006 law states that the White House can issue a presidential alert only if the public were in peril, or during national emergencies. The alert cannot be a personal message on behalf of the president.

The wireless alert system launched in 2012.

October 12: Hackers accessed personal information of 30 million Facebook users

October 12: Senators urge Canada against using Huawei in 5G development due to national security concerns

October 24: When the Postal Service Is Used to Stoke Panic

Officials have intercepted explosive items bound for an array of high-profile targets ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

First it was George Soros, then in quick succession the Clintons and the Obamas. This week a number of potential explosive devices made their way into the U.S. mail system, each disarmed before anyone was injured.

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October 24: Trump calls for 'peace and harmony' in wake of bomb threats, urges politicians, media to change behavior

In listing off ways the country can ease political hostilities, the president did not refer to any of his own repeated and intense attacks on Democrats and the media, but instead appeared to blame both groups for the current state of affairs.

"The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostilities and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories," Trump added.

Trump has regularly derided negative coverage as "fake news," has labeled the press the "enemy of the people" and suggested that coverage of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "treasonous" because it was not positive enough.

October 24: Trump rally chants 'lock her up' after bomb threats made to Clinton

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October 24: Former CIA chief John Brennan called President Donald Trump's anti-media rhetoric "counterproductive" and "un-American" while speaking at an event in Texas on Wednesday night, hours after a pipe bomb was mailed to Brennan himself at CNN headquarters in New York. Brennan has appeared on the network but is a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.

"Unfortunately I think Donald Trump too often has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger, if not violence, when he points to acts of violence or also talks about swinging at somebody from the press, the media," Brennan said of Wednesday's pipe bomb scares. "That's why I have spoken out so strongly, some would say very stridently, because of what I think is a continued failure on the part of Donald Trump to live up to what I think should be all our expectations about what an American president should be doing, especially in times like this."

October 26: Suspect Identified In Suspicious Package Case Following Arrest In Florida

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November 16: U.S. Marshals Service spending millions on DeVos security in unusual arrangement

The cost to taxpayers could be as much as $19.8 million through next year, according to figures provided to NBC News.

November 22: Interpol's new chief: the 'bulldozer' with a taste for tackling cybercrime

Kim Jong-yang likely to refocus organisation and popularise South Korean police tactics known as ‘K-cop wave’

The election of South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang as president of Interpol after months of scandal will likely see the organisation return to its core mission, as delegates chose a career cop over Kremlin insider Alexander Prokopchuk.

December 13: America's Growing Cop Shortage

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December 20: It started with Nazis: Concerns over foreign agents not just a Trump-era phenomenon

December 22: Two arrested in Gatwick Airport drone scare that delayed flights

"The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield," airport officials said.

December 23: Trump: Drones are ‘lots of fun,’ but only a ‘good old fashioned wall’ works

-- 2019 --

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January 24: Jared Kushner's application for a top-secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The official, Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner's was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top-secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline's arrival.

“The system is supposed to be a nonpartisan determination of an individual’s fitness to hold a clearance, not an ad hoc approach that overrules career experts to give the president’s family members access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets,”

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"What you are reporting is what all of us feared," said Brad Moss, a lawyer who represents persons seeking security clearances. "The normal line adjudicators looked at the FBI report … saw the foreign influence concerns, but were overruled by the quasi-political supervisor."

The supervisor agreed with the "unfavorable" determination and gave it to Kline, the head of the office at the time, who overruled the "unfavorable" determination and approved Kushner for "top secret" security clearance, the sources said.

"No one else gets that kind of treatment," Moss said. "My clients would get body slammed if they did that."

April 1: John Bolton may have been denied a White House security clearance

President Trump may have let his questionable security practices slip beyond the family.

... House Democrats said a whistleblower told them at least 25 people headed for the Trump White House had been denied security clearances, but somehow ended up with clearances anyway. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is now investigating those alleged security sidesteppers, and National Security Adviser John Bolton is on the list, The New York Times reports.

November 24: Greenland Is Not For Sale. But It Has The Rare Earth Minerals America Wants
-- 2020 --

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