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The top government official tasked with clearing background checks said at a congressional hearing that he’s “never seen that level of mistakes” that he saw on White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance application, which has had to be amended on several occasions.
Charles Phalen, director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, a new division within the Office of Personnel Management, made the remark during a House subcommittee hearing, CNN reported.
Kushner’s multiple updates to his security clearance questionnaire were for failing to initially include more than 100 foreign contacts he had prior to entering the White House.
Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked Phalen if he could “recall if there has ever been an applicant having to submit four addenda detailing over 100 errors and omissions being able to maintain their security clearance once those errors and omission have been identified?”
In response, Phalen said he has not seen “the breadth” of all applications but that he had never personally “seen that level of mistakes.”
An Office of Personnel Management spokesperson told CNN that the comments were “taken out of context,” but did not elaborate on how.
On a few occassions, Democrats have sought to strip Kushner of his security clearance because of his failure to submit all of his foreign contacts, among other issues.
In a letter to White House Counsel Donald McGahn earlier this month, Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Don Beyer of Virginia requested that the White House immediately revoke Kushner’s security clearances following reports on his use of private email while serving in the White House.
The lawmakers additionally pointed back to a June request to strip Kushner of his security clearance because of the FBI’s probe into his communications with Russian officials prior to President Donald Trump taking office. But the congressmen added that they “have seen no action on this matter.”
And in July, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida introduced a pair of amendments aimed at stripping Kushner of his security clearance into a 2018 appropriations bill. Those amendments were quickly voted down. That effort came after the revelation of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that Kushner had participated in with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., and then-chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign Paul Manafort.