U.S. President Donald Trump talks with White House Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner as they attend a Hanukkah Reception in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty

A recent report by the Department of Defense found 165 government contractors with felonies, influences from foreign governments, suspicious financial dealings, and even pedophilia were given national security clearance and were able to access sensitive information.

The report obtained by NBC News on Wednesday revealed data from 200,000 defense contractors and how easy it was to get passed the first round of vetting, the preliminary background check, and be granted access to sensitive national security information.

Of the 200,000 defense contractors who had requested top secret national security clearance over the past three years, 486 were denied or revoked. However, that number also includes 165 applicants who slipped through the initial vetting process, some of whom continued to have access to sensitive information for years.

Of those 165 applicants, 151 had withheld information, and had their clearance revoked upon being discovered. NBC News cited an example where one person’s interim secret clearance, granted in 2015, was revoked in 2017, after it was discovered the person had raped a child before applying for clearance.

A majority of the denials — 370 applicants — were due to “financial considerations,” and felonies accounted for 63 denials. Fifty six applicants were found to have evidence of foreign preference or influence.

Many of the 200,000 applications were adjudicated in 2017 and the process for White House aides and defense contractors gaining national security clearance does not differ. The FBI is responsible for looking into an applicant’s criminal history, financial records and foreign contacts, and this includes defense contractors for the Department of Defense and government contractors for the White House and other agencies, who require clearance to be able to do their jobs.

A former FBI official said interim or provisional security clearances are often necessary for many agencies to fill their jobs. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, operates with an interim security clearance. Kushner has been doing so for over a year and has not been given a permanent clearance, according to two law enforcement sources, NBC News reported.

According to the New Yorker, this interim clearance allows Kushner to attend the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, called on the committee’s chair, Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, to investigate “troubling irregularities” with regards to national security clearances held by Trump’s senior aides, citing the report, according to a press release by the committee.

In a letter Wednesday to Gowdy, asking him to subpoena the White House for documents withheld on interim security clearances, Cummings wrote:

“Over the past year, I have asked you repeatedly to join me in investigating critical failings in our nation’s security clearance processes and troubling irregularities with the security clearances of senior aides to President Donald Trump. You have consistently refused to join any of these oversight requests.

I believe that serious deficiencies in our nation’s security clearance processes represent an urgent and grave risk to our national security. This assessment is based not only on my own investigative work over the past several years, but also on the work of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.


The White House has also refused to respond to my separate requests for information about the security clearances of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, his son Michael Flynn, Jr., President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and other officials.

Although the White House refused to provide any information, the Department of Defense did respond to my October letter and provided extremely troubling data.”

While Gowdy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, a White House spokesperson said: "As we have said in the past, we do not discuss security clearances."

Under United States’ law, the president can override findings by the FBI and grant national security clearance to whoever the commander-in-chief sees fit. However, a former Obama administration official said, during their time at the White House, it was policy not to override FBI recommendations with regards to hiring personnel for White House positions, according to NBC News.