World

Trump's son-in-law, Kushner, loses top security clearance

WASHINGTON: Mr Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner has lost his top-level security clearance, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Two sources confirmed US media reports that the 37-year-old White House aide had lost access to America's most closely protected secrets.

The White House, including the President himself, refused to comment on the record but insisted that the decision would not have any impact on Mr Kushner's role.

Still, Mr Kushner's loss of access casts serious doubt on his ability to be a powerbroker inside the White House and to negotiate Middle East peace.

Mr Kushner has been an integral part of the Trump election campaign and, among White House advisers, is seen as something like a first among equals.

Politico and CNN first reported that his clearance may have been rescinded late last week.

Mr Kushner, married to the President's daughter Ivanka, has been a leading figure in peace deal efforts between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He has also been a strong proponent of Washington's intensified support for the government of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision comes days before Mr Netanyahu visits the White House.

Former US negotiator Aaron David Miller said Mr Kushner now risks losing "credibility" with interlocutors in the Middle East.

"They know you can't be reading about them," he said, and "you can't possibly know what you don't know".

Mr Kushner's lawyer had earlier admitted that he has not yet completed the formal clearance procedures, despite reportedly getting access to the most secret material contained in the President's daily briefing - the crown jewel of US intelligence.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ordered changes to the clearance system after top aide Rob Porter worked for months without full clearance because of allegations that he had abused both his ex-wives.

"I will not comment on anybody's specific security clearance," Mr Kelly said. - AFP

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