Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, has had his security clearance downgraded, locking him out of high-level White House briefings.
Mr Kushner, who has been operating under an interim security clearance for about a year, had his access to the highly classified President’s Daily Brief cut off in the past few weeks, White House sources told Reuters.
A third official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently passed new information to White House Counsel Don McGahn that led to the slowing or stopping of Mr Kushner’s pending clearance application.
The nature of that information was not clear.
It also is unclear if and when Mr Kushner’s access to the briefing, known as the PDB, which requires clearance higher than the Top Secret level, would be reinstated.
Mr Kushner, a wealthy New York businessman married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has not received his full security clearance because of his extensive financial links, which have taken a long time to examine.
He has revised his security clearance form, called an SF-86, several times.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a February 16 memo that White House officials who have been operating on interim clearances since last June would have their temporary clearances discontinued.
That decision included Mr Kushner, who has taken on a wide portfolio as senior adviser, including sensitive foreign policy matters.
Asked last week whether he would grant Kushner an exemption from the new mandate, Mr Trump said it would be Mr Kelly’s decision.
In a statement, Mr Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell wrote: “Mr. Kushner has done more than what is expected of him in this process.”
“Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr Kushner’s level whose process is delayed,” Lowell wrote.
No concerns were raised about Mr. Kushner’s application. As General Kelly himself said, the new clearance policy will not affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the President.”
Mr Trump ignored reporters’ shouted questions about his son-in-law and his clearance at an event on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
The White House has been grappling with the security clearance issue since it emerged this month that staff secretary Rob Porter worked for Mr Trump for a year with a temporary clearance despite accusations by his two former wives of domestic abuse. Mr Porter has maintained his innocence.
The President’s Daily Brief is distributed to a small number of top-level US officials.
It includes highly classified intelligence analysis, information about CIA covert operations and reports from the most sensitive US sources or those shared by allied intelligence agencies.