Kelly makes changes to White House security clearance process

Jennifer Willoughby Rob Porter's ex-wife poses for a portrat in Alexandria VA on February 7

"Now is the time to take a hard look at the way the White House processes clearance requests".

White House chief of staff John Kelly has ordered sweeping changes to the White House's security clearance process, in light of circumstances surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, accused of being violent with his ex-wives.

In a five-page memo distributed Friday afternoon to White House staff, Mr. Kelly suggested that there were serious shortcomings with the system for vetting top-level officials with access to the United States' most closely guarded secrets.

Kelly's new plan would set the limit for interim security clearances at 180 days, with an option to extend for another 90 days if background checks do not immediately reveal any troubling information. Porter during their marriages. Formalize processes between the White House Counsel's Office and the PSO regarding suitability and clearance reviews. Porter was allowed to remain in one of the most sensitive posts there despite the F.B.I.'s discovery of the abuse allegations months ago.

Kelly touted changes he has already made to the security clearance process, writing that "security clearances were one of my earliest and most immediate concerns" when he became chief of staff last summer.

Formalize the delivery and notification process between the White House and Federal Bureau of Investigation and update the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the White House and the Department of Justice regarding BIs as necessary.

Have a goal of receiving a briefing about any "significant derogatory information about senior staff" within 48 hours of discovering it. The Trump administration later said Porter's background investigation remained open because the White House Personnel Security Office, which approves clearances, had not completed its work.

Kelly added, "We should-and in the future, must-do better".

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He is one of reportedly dozens of White House officials who have been operating with temporary clearances during Trump's first year in office, and his clearance could be in jeopardy following chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's changes to the clearance process, the Post said.

Kelly also announced he is creating a working group to study the clearance process, both for the White House and across the executive branch.

Wray this week also pushed back against the idea his agency did anything improper in its handling of Porter's clearance.

Kelly also wrote of setting "benchmarks" for getting security clearances done in a timely fashion, though per WaPo he did not give any concrete details. But Kelly writes he is still not sure whether this is achievable.

Among the actions, Kelly says he reviewed security clearances of White House staff, reduced the overall number of clearances and "adjusted the level" of staffer's clearances to better fit with his vision of staffers' responsibilities.

Later, Kelly writes, "But recent events have exposed some remaining shortcomings", beyond the changes Kelly implemented since taking over as chief of staff past year.

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