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Thursday, September 29, 2022

White House Whistleblower Tells Oversight Panel of Security Clearance Reversals

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) revealed today that a whistleblower who currently works inside the White House Security Office sat for a confidential, on-the-record, daylong interview with Democratic and Republican committee staff to relay concerns clearance issues that she believes endanger national security.

The revelation came in a letter Cummings sent this morning to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone announcing that the committee is moving forward with subpoenas as the White House has not produced any documents or requested witnesses over the many months since the panel launched the investigation.

“In light of the grave reports from this whistleblower—and the ongoing refusal of the White House to provide the information we need to conduct our investigation—the Committee now plans to proceed with compulsory process and begin authorizing subpoenas, starting at tomorrow’s business meeting,” Cummings wrote in his letter to the White House. “The Committee respects the President’s authority to grant security clearances. However, the White House must respect Congress’ co-equal and independent authority to investigate who has been given access to our nation’s secrets, how they obtained that access, the extent to which national security has been compromised, and whether Congress should amend current laws to improve national security and enhance transparency over these decisions.”

Cummings said that the whistleblower “has come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress—and the nation—about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years.” According to Cummings’ letter: “She has informed the Committee that during the Trump Administration, she and other career officials adjudicated denials of dozens of applications for security clearances that were later overturned.”

Cummings also released a memo to committee members detailing concerns raised by the whistleblower.

  • On why she came forward: “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.”
  • On the impact to national security: Security clearance applications for White House officials “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security.”
  • On White House retaliation: “I’m terrified of going back. I know that this will not be perceived in favor of my intentions, which is to bring back the integrity of the office.”
  • On need for Congress to act now: “This is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”

The committee will not be releasing the full transcript at this time.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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