John Kelly orders changes to the White House security clearance process

The president wished Porter well while speaking to journalists in the Oval Office on Friday

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Under pressure over his handling of abuse allegations against a top aide, White House chief of staff John Kelly has ordered sweeping changes in how the White House clears staff members to gain access to classified information, acknowledging that the administration "must do better" in how it handles security clearances.

Saying that recent events had exposed some "shortcomings", Kelly decreed that any interim security clearances for staffers whose background investigations have been pending since June 1 or before would be discontinued in a week.

Chief of Staff John Kelly proposed a series of tweaks meant to limit temporary security clearances, but which also seemed created to draw a line under the Rob Porter scandal.

Kelly has come under fire since Porter's resignation.

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For future approved interim clearances, grant a temporary clearance for a period of 180 days, with an option to extend interim clearance for another 90 days if no significant derogatory information that would call into question whether interim status is appropriate has been discovered in the BI.

The Personnel Security Office is said to have had Porter's completed FBI background check and was conducting its own investigation when printed the ex-wives' allegations.

The White House was mired in scandal over its security-clearance procedures after former staff secretary Rob Porter faced allegations of domestic and emotional abuse.

Beyond addressing processes that he suggested were at fault for allowing Porter to remain as a senior aide to the President, Kelly said he also plans to work with the attorney general, Federal Bureau of Investigation director, director of national intelligence, defense secretary and CIA director to "streamline, harmonize and modernize standards across the executive branch" - citing a larger problem.

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A top technology advisor to President Donald Trump is leaving the White House, officials said Friday.

Reed Cordish, an ally of Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, is leaving his post as assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives, the White House said Friday.

"My inquiries to those involved again have confirmed that there are a dozen or more people at Mr. Kushner's level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for this process to take this long in a new administration", said Abbe Lowell.

The questionnaire, which is technically 127 pages (although some pages don't apply and others might go unused), is used for "background investigations, reinvestigations, and continuous evaluations of persons under consideration for, or retention of, national security positions", according to the Office of Management and Budget. Sources have told CNN that both Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn were aware of the allegations for months before they became public. It also seeks to reduce the "tie lag" between discovery of derogatory information to disclosure to the White House. "Kelly revealed, "...we need to do better across the the past, credible and substantiated reports of past domestic abuse - even physical abuse - were not considered automatic disqualification for suitability for employment or a security clearance". But Kelly writes he is still not sure whether this is achievable. Kelly said his office, the chief of staff's office, must also approve of all new security clearance requests.

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