World Bulletin / News Desk
Jared Kushner had been operating under the highest-level interim clearance along with dozens of other White House officials. But his "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" clearance has been downgraded to "secret" level, U.S. news outlets reported, citing anonymous White House officials.
Chief of staff John Kelly last week cut the number of individuals working under an interim clearance after controversy erupted when former White House staff secretary Rob Porter left office amid a scandal.
Porter's exit -- prompted by the public disclosure of a spousal abuse allegation from his two ex-wives -- brought to light that several White House officials had been working under an interim clearance for over a year, stirring outrage.
Kelly sent a memo out last week ordering that White House officials operating under interim clearances since before last June lose their top-secret clearances if they had not received their permanent clearances by last Friday.
The policy change was first reported by Politico.
Trump could unilaterally reinstate Kushner's clearance but said last Friday he would allow Kelly to make the decision.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to address Kushner's clearance status when asked by reporters Tuesday.
"We actually haven't commented on Jared's as you indicated, but we have commented on his ability to do his job, which he's a valued member of the team and he will continue to do the important work that he's been doing since he started in the administration," she said.
Kushner has played a central role in the Trump administration, notably leading the White House's China and Middle East policies. But he has seen his role steadily decline since Kelly came to office late last July.
Officials in four countries -- the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico -- have discussed ways to leverage Kushner's extensive business interests against him, The Washington Post reported later Tuesday, citing current and former American officials with knowledge of relevant intelligence assessments.Whether any of the countries had acted on the intention is unclear, "but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance", the Post reported, citing the officials.