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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

REPS LIEU, NADLER AND CUMMINGS INTRODUCE BILL TO CREATE TRANSPARENCY IN WHITE HOUSE SECURITY CLEARANCE PROCESS

February 14, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON– Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced the “Commonsense Legislation Ensuring Accountability by Reporting Access of Non-Cleared Employees to Secrets (CLEARANCES)" Act that would require the White House to regularly report the status of security clearance holders working in the Executive Office of the President. Under existing law, the President can choose to keep employees on staff with interim security clearances indefinitely without notifying Congress. The CLEARANCES Act would serve to create more accountability and oversight of who has access to classified information.

Upon introduction, Mr. Lieu said:

“As we’ve seen, transparency hasn’t come so easy to the Trump White House.  White House officials have repeatedly contradicted themselves on whether they allowed Rob Porter to have an interim security clearance despite concerns over allegations of domestic abuse. Aside from the moral failings, we’re looking at potentially dangerous breaches in our national security protocols. What’s worse is that, despite our oversight duties, Members of Congress have no mechanism to figure out who in the White House has access to classified information and whether they are doing so under an interim clearances.

I’ve asked, time and again, why people like Jared Kushner have security clearances despite repeatedly failing to properly disclose information on clearance forms. By using interim security clearances, the White House is circumventing an essential process that ensures government officials handling classified information are not vulnerable to blackmail or manipulation. As Members of Congress, we have a duty to ensure that classified information is properly safeguarded.”

Upon introduction, Mr. Nadler said:

“The Trump White House continues to show a blatant disregard for the security of this country. The security clearance vetting process is meant to ensure the safety and security of every American and maintain the integrity of our government. By refusing to take that responsibility seriously—to frivolously ignore the concerns raised by investigators and feed classified information to staffers who pose a potential danger to national security—Donald Trump has again abused the trust of the American people and placed our security at risk. It falls to Congress to reestablish that trust, which is why this legislation is so critical to our nation.”

Upon introduction, Mr. Cummings said:

“Congress needs answers about the White House’s dysfunctional security clearance process, but the Trump Administration refuses to turn over information.  This legislation will hold the White House accountable and ensure at least some transparency for how the President is handling our nation’s most closely guarded secrets.”

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