White House officials continued to bail over failed security clearances this week. The latest: National Economic Council official George David Banks resigned on Tuesday after learning that he would not be given a permanent security clearance. The reason? “Banks said he was told that his clearance would not be granted because he admitted to smoking marijuana in 2013,” Politico reports.
George David Banks says he failed to get a security clearance because of past cannabis use. But that’s almost never a disqualifier.
It’s not clear whether Banks smoked cannabis in 2013 or whether his admission was made in 2013.
Banks became the third official in the past week to resign over security clearance issues. Last Wednesday, White House staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down after allegations of past domestic abuse surfaced. On Friday, speechwriter David Sorensen resigned over domestic abuse allegations as well.
The Trump administration has allowed many staff members to work under the cover of interim security clearances, even though most FBI background checks have already been completed. Those who have not received permanent security clearance include the president’s son-in-law and close advisor, Jared Kushner, which has made the issue of staff clearances an awkward one.
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The New York Times reported on Monday:
People familiar with the security clearance process in Mr. Trump’s White House said it was widely acknowledged among senior aides that raising questions about unresolved vetting issues in a staff member’s background would implicitly reflect on Mr. Kushner’s status, as well — a situation made more awkward because Mr. Kushner is married to the president’s daughter Ivanka.
The FBI and federal intelligence agencies perform extensive background checks on White House staff members. Those agencies make the decision about who