Tester Demands Detailed Answers from Trump Administration on Flynn’s Security Clearance Background Check
After Allegations of Inappropriate Communications with Russian Officials, Senator Raises Specific Concerns About the White House’s National Security Vetting Process
(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding answers from the Trump Administration about General Michael Flynn’s security clearance background check and the White House’s vetting process for granting individuals access to America’s most classified information.
Tester raised concerns in a letter to top administration officials that Flynn’s background check put national security at risk because it may have lacked thoroughness, and failed to identify glaring red flags regarding the appropriateness of Flynn’s access to sensitive national security information.
“It is unclear whether Mr. Flynn was fully vetted for either secret contact with a foreign agent or the intentional compromise of U.S. government classified information,” wrote Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “It is critical that the American people have trust in the security clearance background investigation and adjudication process, particularly for individuals working in senior positions within the White House. We are also troubled by the news that six White House employees were dismissed after not passing their Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearances. Unfortunately, public trust is undermined by recent events such as these, and a number of questions need to be answered before our confidence in this process can be restored. “
Tester questioned whether Flynn was subject to a Counterintelligence Scope Polygraph and asked whether Flynn had reported all foreign travel and contact before joining the administration as National Security Advisor. The White House has also reportedly dismissed other employees who did not pass their security clearance questionnaires.
Tester is seeking answers to 17 specific questions from the administration no later than March 17, 2017 to ensure the White House’s security clearance process does not again put national security at risk.
1. When was Flynn’s most recent Single Scope Background Re-Investigation conducted?
2. Which agency conducted Mr. Flynn’s most recent security clearance investigation?
3. Did the FBI conduct a background investigation for Flynn following the election and prior to him working at the White House?
4. If so, how long did it take for the FBI to conduct Flynn’s background investigation?
5. Was Flynn subject to a Counterintelligence Scope Polygraph prior to taking his position as National Security Advisor?
6. Was Flynn required to undergo a polygraph as part of his most recent security clearance investigation?
7. Did Flynn accurately indicate the extent of his contact with Russian government officials on his most recent SF-86 form?
8. Does the FBI maintain records of Flynn’s foreign travel prior to him working at the White House?
9. Does the FBI have records of Flynn’s foreign contact logs during his time as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency?
10. What additional areas of concern were flagged by investigators during Flynn’s most recent background investigation?
11. Is Flynn’s security clearance expected to be permanently revoked due to the circumstances of his resignation?
12. Which White House Executive Office positions currently require security clearances?
13. What are the dates on which these security clearances were granted and what are the dates of the most recent re-investigations for these individuals?
14. Why does each of these individuals require a security clearance to hold their positions?
15. What requirement determines the need for these individuals to access classified information and hold security clearances? Which individual, office, or policy makes this determination within the White House?
16. We understand numerous individuals within the White House Executive Office have recently been denied a security clearance. How many individuals does this apply to? What were their intended job titles and responsibilities? Of those individuals who were denied a clearance to work at the White House Executive Office, have any been hired or are in the process of being placed in another federal government department or agency in the administration?
17. Are any White House Executive Office staff currently employed who have derogatory and/or disqualifying information in their background investigation, yet who the White House Executive Office still deems eligible to hold a security clearance?
Tester’s letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is available HERE.