The man US President Donald Trump has entrusted with the fate of the Middle East does not have security clearance according to the American news agency Politico.
Trump’s son-in-law and close aide Jared Kushner, who has been tasked with forging peace in the Middle East has been carrying some of the most sensitive diplomatic talks with an interim security clearance since Trump came into the White House ten months ago.
Many people are baffled by the current White House’s blasé approach to the issue. “The White House claim that it is ‘completely normal’ for it to take over ten months to clear an extremely senior WH official is insane,” tweeted Susan Hennessey, a national security fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Kushner has been within Trump’s inner circle from day one but according to the report a number of “complicating factors, including complex financial transactions involving his family’s real estate business as well as the changes to his form listing foreign contacts, which now includes more than 100 meetings, including with Russians during the transition”, has delayed his security clearance.
“I have never seen that level of mistakes,” Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, said in a congressional hearing earlier this fall.
Despite not having full security clearance, Kushner has been working closely with the Saudis. He’s made a number of high level visits to the Middle East, including a trip to Riyadh days before Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman launched an anti-corruption campaign in which many of the country’s high profile princes and business tycoons were arrested.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was also offered an ultimatum after he was summoned to Riyadh last week for a meeting with Bin Salman days after Kushner made an unannounced visit to meet the young prince.
Kushner is a strong advocate of Israel and his support for the country, say critics, is odd even by American standards. He has given money to Israeli settlements and his family are close friends of Benjamin Netanyahu.