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30+ W.H. Aides Have Lost Access To Top Secret Information

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.Screengrab/Guardian News/YouTube

The decision to reevaluate interim security clearances was made last week by Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Chief of Staff John Kelly's decision to reevaluate the interim security clearances of White House staff has resulted in more than 30 aides losing access to top-secret intelligence.

The decision, made in the wake of former staff secretary Rob Porter's domestic abuse scandal, also cost senior adviser Jared Kushner his top secret clearance.

More than 30 aides to President Donald Trump have been stripped of access to top secret intelligence, two people familiar with the move said.

The officials have been notified that they will be downgraded to lower-level “secret” interim security clearances, said the two people. None of the officials has been asked to leave the administration and their portfolios on top secret matters will be distributed to other staff members, they said.

Kelly's move to downgrade security clearances came after Porter was outed as having past domestic abuse issues holding up his permanent clearance. Porter resigned his post in early February following public allegations by both of his ex-wives that he was physically and emotionally abusive during their relationships.

The specifics as to who has lost top-secret clearance are still unknown, and it remains unclear how the change in status might affect aides' abilities to do their jobs.

When asked about Kushner, Kelly said the president's son-in-law would not be hindered in his capacity as senior adviser. Kushner has been tasked with responsibilities such as negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Should Kushner's clearance ultimately be denied, the president can grant him top-secret clearance, though it is unclear if Trump will exercise that authority.

Over the weekend, Trump faulted an overly rigorous vetting system for the hold up with Kushner and said it "shouldn't take this long" to acquire approval.

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