FBI director gives new details that contradict White House timeline of Rob Porter’s departure


Posted on: February 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — FBI Director Chris Wray offered new details on Tuesday that directly contradict the White House’s account of the timeline leading to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s departure following allegations of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives.

Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI completed its background investigation of Porter “in late July.” The FBI then responded to requests for follow up information in November, and finally “administratively closed the file in January … earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that along as well,” Wray said.

The timeline laid out in Wray’s testimony before Congress sharply departs from the narrative offered by the White House last week.

As the allegations of violence came to light — including graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife — the White House repeatedly claimed the background investigation needed for Porter’s security clearance was ongoing as of last week when he resigned.

The FBI, Wray said on Tuesday, had concluded months earlier that Porter’s past made him ineligible for a full (multi-year) security clearance. Porter then continued to work at the White House under a temporary security clearance.

In Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the investigation was “ongoing” and the White House personnel security office did not make a final recommendation on Porter for the administration.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House, because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

On Monday, Sanders said the process for clearance “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

In Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the investigation was “ongoing” and the White House personnel security office did not make a final recommendation on Porter for the administration.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House, because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

“In the view of the personnel security office, the FBI’s July report required significant additional investigatory field work before the personnel security office could begin to evaluate the information for adjudication. As Director Wray said, information was still coming to the White House Personnel Security Office in February.”

On Monday, Sanders said the process for clearance “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

Yet on Tuesday, Sanders said that the background investigation process “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

“It’s handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community and we support that process. it’s the same process that’s been used for decades and for previous administrations and we’re relying on that process at this point,” said Sanders.

The messaging on who knew what — and when — about Porter’s background investigation has now embroiled the White House for over a week.

Wray’s testimony undermines the White House’s central defense of Porter, first offered by Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah last Thursday, that it would have been premature to issue a final verdict on his security clearance while an investigation was ongoing.

“We should not short-circuit an investigation just because allegations are made, unless they could compromise national security or interfere with operations at the White House. The truth must be determined. And that was what was going on with Rob Porter. His background investigation was ongoing. He was operating on an interim security clearance. His clearance was never denied, and he resigned,” Shah said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the messaging in her briefing yesterday.

“As I know Raj addressed last week, we let the process play out. It was ongoing, hadn’t been completed,” she said. “ And beyond that, and the statement I just gave you, I don’t have anything else to add.”

On Fox and Friends Tuesday morning, Shah continued to use the defense that the background check process was still ongoing.

ABC is still trying to determine the number of individuals still operating under temporary security clearances in the White House as of Tuesday.

One such figure with that type of clearance is the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

However, according to sources familiar with the matter, it’s not uncommon for some clearances to take several months, nor is it uncommon to have a backlog of individuals seeking clearances.

What remains unclear is whether there are additional staffers employed by the White House who failed to secure full security clearances.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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FBI director gives new details that contradict White House timeline of Rob Porter’s departure


Posted on: February 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — FBI Director Chris Wray offered new details on Tuesday that directly contradict the White House’s account of the timeline leading to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s departure following allegations of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives.

Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI completed its background investigation of Porter “in late July.” The FBI then responded to requests for follow up information in November, and finally “administratively closed the file in January … earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that along as well,” Wray said.

The timeline laid out in Wray’s testimony before Congress sharply departs from the narrative offered by the White House last week.

As the allegations of violence came to light — including graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife — the White House repeatedly claimed the background investigation needed for Porter’s security clearance was ongoing as of last week when he resigned.

The FBI, Wray said on Tuesday, had concluded months earlier that Porter’s past made him ineligible for a full (multi-year) security clearance. Porter then continued to work at the White House under a temporary security clearance.

In Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the investigation was “ongoing” and the White House personnel security office did not make a final recommendation on Porter for the administration.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House, because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

On Monday, Sanders said the process for clearance “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

In Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the investigation was “ongoing” and the White House personnel security office did not make a final recommendation on Porter for the administration.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House, because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

“In the view of the personnel security office, the FBI’s July report required significant additional investigatory field work before the personnel security office could begin to evaluate the information for adjudication. As Director Wray said, information was still coming to the White House Personnel Security Office in February.”

On Monday, Sanders said the process for clearance “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

Yet on Tuesday, Sanders said that the background investigation process “doesn’t operate within the White House.”

“It’s handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community and we support that process. it’s the same process that’s been used for decades and for previous administrations and we’re relying on that process at this point,” said Sanders.

The messaging on who knew what — and when — about Porter’s background investigation has now embroiled the White House for over a week.

Wray’s testimony undermines the White House’s central defense of Porter, first offered by Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah last Thursday, that it would have been premature to issue a final verdict on his security clearance while an investigation was ongoing.

“We should not short-circuit an investigation just because allegations are made, unless they could compromise national security or interfere with operations at the White House. The truth must be determined. And that was what was going on with Rob Porter. His background investigation was ongoing. He was operating on an interim security clearance. His clearance was never denied, and he resigned,” Shah said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the messaging in her briefing yesterday.

“As I know Raj addressed last week, we let the process play out. It was ongoing, hadn’t been completed,” she said. “ And beyond that, and the statement I just gave you, I don’t have anything else to add.”

On Fox and Friends Tuesday morning, Shah continued to use the defense that the background check process was still ongoing.

ABC is still trying to determine the number of individuals still operating under temporary security clearances in the White House as of Tuesday.

One such figure with that type of clearance is the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

However, according to sources familiar with the matter, it’s not uncommon for some clearances to take several months, nor is it uncommon to have a backlog of individuals seeking clearances.

What remains unclear is whether there are additional staffers employed by the White House who failed to secure full security clearances.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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