Kushner Omitted Russia Meetings on Security Clearance Forms
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2017—Jared Kushner failed to disclose “dozens of contacts” with foreign government representatives on the Questionnaire For National Security Positions, one of the forms required to obtain top-secret security clearance.
Question 26B.6 reads as follows:
“Have you or any member of your immediate family in the past seven (7) years had any contact with a foreign government, its establishment (such as embassy, consulate, agency, military service, intelligence or security service, etc.) or its representatives, whether inside or outside the U.S.? (Answer ‘No’ if the contact was for routine visa applications and border crossings related to either official U.S. Government travel or foreign travel on a U.S. passport.)”
The New York Times reported Thursday that Kushner had omitted information including his meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak and the head of Vnesheconombank, a Russian state-owned bank during the transition. Kushner’s attorney explained that the form was “submitted prematurely” and that Kushner had communicated with the FBI the day after the submission to inform the agency that he intended to provide additional information.
“During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect,” Kushner said to the FBI, according to a statement by his attorney. “I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity. … I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts.”
The application was submitted on January 18. When contacted by The New York Times over two and a half months after the form was initially submitted, Kushner’s attorneys stated that they were still gathering information regarding Kushner’s meetings. They also stated that Kushner has interim security clearance for the moment.
The news of Kushner’s omission was overshadowed by the U.S. missile strikes on the Syrian airfield housing the fleet responsible for Tuesday’s chemical attack on Syrian civilians and news of infighting between Kushner and Steve Bannon. However, the first question in the form at issue makes clear that withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information subjects the perpetrator to up to eight years in prison, denial or revocation of a security clearance, and/or removal and debarment from Federal Service.
While it appears that Kushner withheld information and has yet to provide the additional information he promised the FBI, it remains to be seen whether he will receive anything beyond a slap on the wrist.