Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded, according to reports on Tuesday, leaving the senior adviser and son-in-law to Donald Trump without direct access to top secret intelligence and sensitive documents that include the president’s daily brief.
Kushner was notified of the downgrade in a memo on Friday, along with other White House aides who had access to the highest-level interim clearances, Politico and others reported on Tuesday.
Kushner and the aides previously held what is known as Top Secret/SCI-level clearances, which provided them with unfettered access to classified information and some of the country’s most guarded secrets.
The president has the unilateral authority to share classified information as he sees fit, including with his son-in-law, despite the clearance downgrade.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment when reached by the Guardian.
One reason that Kushner has been unable to obtain clearance has been his extensive contacts with foreign officials, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed government officials.
The report said that officials in four foreign countries – the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico – have discussed ways to manipulate Kushner based on his business debts and inexperience.
The move comes after the White House struggled to contain the fallout of a controversy surrounding Rob Porter, who served as Trump’s staff secretary but was forced to resign this month after he was accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives.
The White House claimed to be shocked by the allegations against Porter.
FBI head contradicts White House over Rob Porter background check
During the scandal, it was revealed that Porter handled sensitive and classified documents for more than a year despite lacking a permanent security clearance.
The FBI said it had raised red flags during Porter’s background check, drawing further scrutiny on an apparent lack of regard by the White House for the security clearance process.
Kushner’s security clearance has long been a subject of controversy, in light of revelations that he failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings on his security clearance forms as well as dozens of contacts with foreign leaders and officials. Among Kushner’s omissions was a meeting in December 2016 with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the US, and another with the head of a Russian state-owned bank that had been sanctioned by the US.
John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had vowed to improve the handling of security clearances in the wake of the Porter controversy.
A former spokesman on the US national security council, Tommy Vietor, posted on Twitter that Kushner would now find himself cut out of top-level intelligence discussions.
“Kelly has effectively cut him out of most foreign policy discussions,” he tweeted.