FBI director contradicts White House account on background investigation of aide accused of spousal abuse
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday contradicted the White House’s account of when the bureau informed officials about the status of a senior aide’s security clearance investigation.
White House officials said that they were first contacted in the summer by the FBI about senior aide Rob Porter’s clearance. They also said the investigation was never completed and they did not know the extent of the allegations. Porter stepped down last week following accusations of spousal abuse.
But Wray, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the FBI submitted a partial report on his clearance in March and that the investigation was completed in July. Soon after, he said, the FBI received a request for a follow-up, which the bureau completed and provided in November. The FBI closed the file in January and then earlier this month, Wray said, the bureau received additional information and “we passed that on as well.”
“I am quite confident that in this instance, the FBI followed established” protocols, Wray said, speaking at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing.
His remarks come as the White House has sought to deflect criticism over its handling of Porter’s clearance, saying it relies on law enforcement and intelligence agencies to run the process.
Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, declined to comment on Porter’s case or those of other White House officials, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who have temporary security clearance but still have access to classified information.
But in general, Coats said, people with temporary clearance should have limited access to classified information.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.