AOC: Security Clearances ‘What’s Next…Putting Nuclear Codes’ in Instagram

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a fiery rant Tuesday before the House Oversight Committee Hearing on security clearances. The House freshman decided to target Senior Advisor to President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, which some Democrats have accused of being a national security concern.

“I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?!?” AOC

“Every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk. I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?!? This is ridiculous.” said Ocasio Cortez.

On Monday night, Kushner told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham “I’ve been accused of all different types of things, all have been false”.

Before Tuesday’s hearing, Cummings received a letter from an administration whistleblower alleging national security concerns in the Trump White House. The whistleblower alleged that 25 officials had received security clearances ‘improperly’, which she shared during a meeting with committee Democrats on Saturday.

Tricia Newbold, who was the adjudications manager in the White House Personnel Security Office told Cummings and a bipartisan staff that her office had issued 25 denials of security clearances that have been overturned by the White House.

However, the Republican staff on the committee responded to both Cummings and Newbold. The members complained that Cummings “cherrypicked” partisan information and didn’t not give ample opportunity for Republican members to respond to Newbold.

In the rebuttal letter, Republican staff stated: 
  • Ms. Newbold generally focused her testimony on her concerns about Carl Kline, who served as OSCO’s Director of Personnel Security (and Ms. Newbold’s manager) until June 2018. Kline left the White House in January 2019.
  • Ms. Newbold’s primary concern with Kline was that he disagreed with her adjudication determinations in 25 cases, granting favorable adjudications when Ms. Newbold had recommended unfavorable outcomes.
  •  Ms. Newbold also lodged complaints about the office’s environment—ranging from how office files are stored, to the manner in which employees were required to scan documents into emails, to the physical position of aKline’s computer monitor on the desk inside of his office.

Ms. Newbold testified that OSCO has been plagued by poor management during the majority of her 18-year tenure as an employee. She acknowledged, however, that the Trump Administration has implemented improvements to the office.

According to Cummings letter, Newbold’s concerns were serious and need further investigation. 
  • Why whistleblower came forward: “I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security.”
  • The impact to national security: Security clearance applications for White House officials “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security.”
  • White House retaliation: “I’m terrified of going back. I know that this will not be perceived in favor of my intentions, which is to bring back the integrity of the office.”
  • Congress needs to act now: “this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”