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WH Security Officials: There Was ‘No Pressure’ From Trump Admin Over Security Clearance Process


A document released Thursday reveals that two career White House security officials testified before the House Oversight Committee in late June that neither official experienced nor witnessed any political pressure from the Trump Administration in connection with security clearances.

The testimonies summarized in the newly released memo respond to accusations made in April by Tricia Newbold–a veteran of the White House Personnel and Security Office–who testified before the House Oversight Committee that her security clearance recommendations were overruled due to political considerations by her supervisor Carl Kline.

The Republican Committee Staff memo, first obtained by The Hill, details the June 28 testimony of current White House Chief Security Officer Crede Bailey and the June 26 testimony of former White House Chief Information Security Officer Cory Louie, both of whom disputed Newbold’s claim that political pressure influenced decision-making.

“Mr. Bailey testified that he never felt any pressure to issue a clearance from any White House entity, including the White House Counsel, during his employment. Mr. Baily also testified that he never witnessed political pressure on anyone else in the office to issue a clearance,” the memo said.

Bailey also told the committee that, based on what he knew, President Donald Trump did not interfere in the security clearance process.

“Similarly, Mr. Bailey testified that to his knowledge, the President had not ordered a security clearance to be issued to specific individuals, although Mr. Bailey acknowledged the President would have the authority to do so,” the memo continued.

Bailey also specifically refuted Newbold’s claim that Kline’s decisions to overrule her security clearance recommendations were politically motivated. Kline had reported directly to Bailey until his departure from the office in Jan. 2019.

“Mr. Bailey had no concerns about Mr. Kline’s decision to not concur with lower-level adjudication recommendations and said he had the ‘utmost confidence’ in Mr. Kline’s ability to conduct security clearance assessments.”

According to the memo, Louie, who only worked in the Trump White House’s security office for two weeks, told the panel that during his brief tenure he did not meet with White House Counsel to discuss specific security clearance case files and that he never felt the administration applied undue political influence on the clearance process.

When asked whether he felt pressured, Louie responded that there was only “pressure for speed and efficiency without compromising standard.”

[image via Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.