Jared Kushner’s application for a top-secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation.
…[Their supervisor], Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner’s was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top-secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline’s arrival.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, said the Trump White House attracted many people with untraditional backgrounds who had complicated financial and personal histories, some of which raised red flags.
Kushner’s FBI background check identified questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign, the sources said, declining to be more specific.
…Kline left the White House personnel security office at least a week ago and is now back at the Department of Defense, according to the Pentagon press office.
…Kline is the subject of an October 2018 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint viewed by NBC News that was filed by Tricia Newbold, a current employee. Newbold has a rare form of dwarfism and the complaint alleges Kline discriminated against her because of her height.
Her complaint states that, in December 2017, Kline moved security files to a new location that was too high and out of her reach and told her, “You have people, have them get you the files you need; or you can ask me.”
…In a letter to her family obtained by NBC News, Newbold described Kline’s behavior toward her as “aggressive,” involving “emotional and psychological abuse” starting in July 2017, a few months after he took over the office.
In the same letter, Newbold wrote that she also had serious concerns about how Kline “continuously changes policy” and makes “reckless security judgments.” She added that Kline’s decisions “if disclosed, can cause embarrassment and negative attention to the administration.”
Newbold raised concerns about Kline’s behavior with her second level supervisor regarding his “hostility and integrity,” according to the EEOC complaint.