House Oversight Committee Authorizes Subpoena In Security Clearance Probe

Ex-White House personnel security director Carl Kline will have to answer to congressional questions about reversing security clearance decisions.

The House Oversight Committee voted across party lines Tuesday to authorize a subpoena for Carl Kline, the main official involved in the White House’s security clearance controversy.

Kline, the former White House personnel security director, allegedly overruled experts on dozens of controversial security clearances, prompting a House investigation into the matter. 

House Oversight Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) praised Tricia Newbold, a current White House employee, for coming forward with a list of people for which Kline had approved top-secret security clearance despite objections from intelligence experts. 

“She’s scared,” Cummings said on the House floor. “She’s small in stature and she’s already seen what is going on in the White House. She was scared to death. And she was afraid, sadly, of our Republican colleagues.”

The most high-profile of those controversial clearances reportedly went to President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who the FBI was concerned could be an easy target of foreign influence. 

Newbold told the committee late last month that she’d kept a list of 25 instances since last year in which her superiors reversed decisions not to grant security clearances.

“I will protect whistleblowers. Period,” Cummings said of Newbold’s decision to speak out, adding that she came forward at “great personal risk.”

The White House has refused to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee into the clearance matter, which came to light last year when it was revealed that dozens of staffers awaiting security clearance were using temporary approvals to access highly sensitive government information.

Trump’s office has argued that it has the final say on such matters and has refused to give Cummings’ committee a single document for the investigation.