During his first year in the White House, Jared Kushner enjoyed unfettered access to Uncle Sam’s deepest secrets — but only because the White House had allowed him to use an interim security clearance as though it were a permanent one. This was because the FBI declined to officially declare Kushner fit to access “top secret” intelligence for months on end. In February 2018 — when the Rob Porter scandal brought public attention to the White House’s profligate abuse of interim security clearances — Kushner still hadn’t secured the bureau’s seal of approval. This fed suspicion that the president’s son-in-law was a subject of the special counsel’s investigation — a concern buttressed by his real-estate company’s sketchy solicitations of giant loans from foreign governments in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Amid public outcry, Kushner’s clearance was downgraded.
Three months later, however, it was restored; and this time, his clearance was of the “permanent” variety. Kushner’s allies celebrated this apparent testament to his safety from Robert Mueller’s probe. Finally, the White House’s resident “Middle East expert” had won the right to review sensitive geopolitical information, thereby clearing the only significant obstacle to a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Or so it seemed. On Thursday night, the Washington Post revealed that the CIA still has not signed off on letting Kushner look at “sensitive compartmented information” — the government’s most sensitive category of secrets, which “primarily involves U.S. intelligence sources and surveillance methods.”
It is unclear whether the CIA’s reluctance has anything to do with Kushner’s sketchy real-estate dealings, or discussions with Russian officials about a “secret back channel” during the presidential transition, or anything else that could put the senior White House adviser in legal jeopardy. But whatever the reason for the restriction on Kushner’s access, it has prevented him from reviewing certain portions of the president’s daily brief.
Which goes a long way toward explaining why the real-estate scion still hasn’t managed to bring peace to the Middle East.