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Jared Kushner's security clearance downgraded


ANI Washington [US]
The interim security clearance of US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was on Tuesday downgraded by Chief of Staff John Kelly, a move that restricts him from viewing the President's daily brief.
Kelly had set a February 23 deadline for halting access to top-secret information for those whose applications have been pending since June 1 or earlier.
As an apparent result, his security clearance was downgraded from "interim top secret" to "interim secret", Fox News quoted a government source as saying.
"The new security clearance policy will not affect Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the President," his spokesperson said in a statement.
The White House aide's portfolio once included the US relationships with China and Japan and a host of domestic priorities, including infrastructure, trade and economic development, but his free-wheeling reach in the foreign policy space -- which was viewed as undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- had already been curtailed somewhat under Kelly.
Trump on Friday said he would leave it up to Kelly to determine the status of Kushner's clearance.
"I will let General Kelly make that decision and he's going to do what's right for the country and I have no doubt he'll make the right decision," Trump had said during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The president, who heaped praise on Kushner, calling him a master dealmaker and saying he had "done an outstanding job", asserted that he inherited a "broken" background check system in which it can take "months and months and months" for full security clearance to be granted, even for people without complicated financial holdings.
Kushner has come under scrutiny in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 5:40 AM IST

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