Congress Launches Investigation Over Ben Rhodes’ Security Clearance

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Congress probes into why the FBI “denied or was going to deny” a security clearance for Ben Rhodes.

Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security advisor who led the Obama administration’s efforts to mislead Congress about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is under scrutiny in the wake of disclosures that he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008. The administration was moving into the White House at the time, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Rhodes has been a key player in the Obama administration’s efforts to create a pro-Iran deal and in misleading Congress and Americans about the terms of the Iranian nuclear agreement.

Given his past, granting him access to the top levels of government—including its diplomacy with Iran—has sparked much concern among lawmakers.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that a letter to FBI Director James Comey from Reps. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) and Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.) said:

“Recent reports indicate the FBI denied, or was going to deny, Ben Rhodes an interim security clearance during President Obama’s transition.

“This previously unknown fact is extremely troubling and calls into question the integrity of the FBI’s protocols and the wisdom of Mr. Rhodes’ continued government employment.”

It is standard policy that anyone can be denied security clearance due to a criminal history, drug use, or “questionable foreign ties or relationships.” Lawmakers are questioning whether Rhodes’ history of promoting diplomacy with Iran may have been the reason he was disqualified.

John Podesta’s hacked emails confirmed Rhodes was not able to pass preliminary background checks by the FBI in 2008. An email from October 2008 said, “We agree that it would not be worth pushing for Benjamin Rhodes to receive interim status.” The email continued, “For your information, out of the approximately 187 people who we have moved through the process Benjamin was the only person declined interim status.”

It has been reported that the FBI was to launch a complete review into Rhodes after the Obama administration transitioned into the White House, though what they concluded remains to be seen.

When interviewed by the Free Beacon, a government official disclosed that Rhodes was granted full security clearance ahead of Obama’s 2008 inauguration. The source added that Rhodes presently holds all relevant security clearances related to his key role in the White House.

Lawmakers are currently investigating if the Obama administration applied political pressure to the FBI in order to obtain a security clearance for Rhodes.  The White House National Security Council has yet to comment on the matter.

See the email below, advising that the FBI was “inclined to deny” security clearance for Rhodes.

H/T: The Washington Free Beacon

Podesta email - Benjamin Rhodes

 

Podesta email - Benjamin Rhodes 2

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