02 April 2019
Washington: A White House whistleblower has told Congress that dozens of rejected security clearance applications were overturned by the Trump administration.
Tricia Newbold claimed applications that were denied for "serious disqualifying issues" were later reversed with little explanation, the BBC reported on Monday.
The veteran White House security adviser testified to the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Democrats have long claimed that White House officials have abused clearances.
Newbold, who works as an adjudications manager in the White House Personnel Security Office, cited "grave" security risks arising from the intervention of her colleagues.
The White House has not commented on the testimony.
Newbold said she decided to speak to the panel after repeated attempts to share her concerns with superiors were ignored, adding that it was her "last hope to really bring the integrity back to our office", according to a committee-released transcript of her interview on Monday.
"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," the 18-year veteran of the executive branch said.
Newbold, who has worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations, claimed that clearances "were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security".
She added that rejections occurred due to a variety of reasons, including "foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct".
The committee added that it is investigating the background checks of the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Last year, it was widely reported that President Trump forced then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant a clearance to his son-in-law Kushner, who until then had been operating under an interim clearance.
In her testimony, Newbold also criticised the White House for "getting out of control" with the number of interim clearance issued, which allowed staff and aides to access classified information.