A career official working within the Trump administration has come forward to claim that security clearances were denied to more than two dozen people due to “disqualifying issues” in their background checks, only to be subsequently granted by White House officials.
The allegations were made by whistleblower Tricia Newbold, the current adjudications manager in the White House Personnel Security Office. According to a press release from House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings, Newbold recently spoke for a “confidential, on-the-record, day-long interview with Democratic and Republican Committee staff” on the House Oversight Committee.
In a letter sent to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings claims Newbold—who has worked in the White House for nearly two decades under both Republican and Democrat administrations—had created:
A document [...] listing approximately 25 individuals who were granted security clearances or eligibility to access national security information despite recommendations to deny their applications.
In a separate memo sent to committee members, Cummings said that Newbold’s list includes “two current senior White House officials, as well as contractors and individuals throughout different components of the Executive Office of the President.” Their initial reasons for being denied security clearances ran the gamut from “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct.”
The committee is now demanding the White House turn over the list, as well as other related documents and witnesses pertaining to the ongoing investigation into how, and why, security clearances were approved during the Trump administration. Already we have the committee looking into Jared Kushner’s extremely sketchy clearance approval process, as well as that of Nazi-adjacent former White House advisor Sebastian Gorka, and former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn.
According to Cummings’ memo, Newbold was subjected to harassment and retaliation due to “her efforts to repeatedly raise national security concerns with the security clearance process.” This alleged retaliation included a 14-day suspension without pay, despite Newbold never having faced disciplinary action in the past, for her opposition to “new procedures [Newbold’s] supervisor implemented,”” as well as a “constant defiance of authority.”
In his letter to Cipollone, Cummings quoted Newbold as saying:
I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security.
He also said she told the committee staffers that she is “terrified of going back” to the White House.
We’ve reached out to the White House for comment and will update with any response we receive. Cummings has given Cipollone until the end of this week to notify the committee as to whether the White House will turn over the requested documents and witnesses voluntarily.