Tricia Newbold is a White House whistleblower who informed Congress that the Trump administration had repeatedly granted security clearance to at least 25 people whose applications had issues that should have immediately disqualified them. Those applicants could have potentially threatened national security,
It’s reported that others have corroborated her account but are too afraid about the risk to their careers to come forward publicly.
Newbold did something many were not expecting her to do just hours after the House committee released her deposition that the White House had overruled career staff members who denied security clearances. She returned to work.
“As you can imagine,” Ms. Newbold, a 39-year-old employee of the White House Personnel Security Office. “I am extremely nervous for how people at work will treat me.”
Newbold, who has worked at the White House for 18 years, recently spoke with NBC News. During the interview, she shared how her supervisor intentionally humiliated her after being informed of her complaints. Newbold was born with a type of dwarfism and she states that her boss, Carl Kline, intentionally moved files to shelves that were beyond her reach. Taking a stand, Newbold filed an official complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission.
You can view the interview here.
She shares that in two decades in government service, she’d never been discriminated against because of her height. Until Kline.
Newbold states that Kline moved things out of her reach not once, but a total of three times. After filing the complaint, she was suspended for two weeks without pay.
“It was definitely humiliating,” Newbold said. “But it didn’t stop me from doing what was right. The protection of national security is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue. And we as security professionals owe it to make all our recommendations in the best interest of national security.”
She says that before penning her letter to Congress she had spoken to White House Director of Personnel Security Carl Kline, his supervisor, Chief Operations Officer Samuel Price and “raised my concerns to White House Counsel on numerous occasions.” But she did not stop there: “I raised my concerns to Marcia Kelly, who was the Assistant to the President at the time. I raised my time—or concerns to individuals within Employee Relations, and I raised my concerns to people within the EEO office.” And recently shared her worries with Chief Security Officer Crede Bailey. Despite her best efforts, she got nowhere.
Newbold still works in the White House within the Executive Office of the President. She says that despite everything she still loves her job, but does fear that there will be further retaliation for her actions sharing that, “Absolutely, given the past retaliation, I’m always concerned, but it’s important that we stand up to do the right thing no matter what.”
Elijah Cummings, the House Oversight Committee Chairman, met with Newbold secretly back in March. They discussed her allegations.
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, was one of the 25 individuals whose security clearance was rejected by security specialists, but Kline stepped in and approved his application. Cummings is currently investigating the situation and he has supported Kline.
Kline has since left his position at the White House and is now working for the Pentagon. Kline has not commented on the situation, but his attorney, Robert Driscoll, recently stated that “The subpoena issued today does not change Mr. Kline’s willingness to appear before the committee to answer its legitimate questions truthfully,” Driscoll said in a statement. “The facts will prove that he acted appropriately at all times.”
Newbold has served under four presidential administrations. She began her career in 2000 under President Clinton. Under the Trump Administration, she has had to watch as positions were filled by individuals that had little to no experience in vetting in the interest of national security.
Ms. Newbold told the committee that at least two senior administration officials had been granted security clearances, which then gave them access to classified information despite their files having issues that should have immediately disqualified them as potential threats to national security. Some of the issues that were red-flagged were financial issues, drug problems, and criminal conduct.
She said while she got that denials could be reversed, she believes “…that these decisions were occurring without proper analysis, documentation, or a full understanding and acceptance of the risks.”
Democrats on the committee are now demanding information from the White House about Ivanka Trump who was granted a security clearance shortly after her husband, Jared Kushner, Trump claims her father had nothing to do with her or her husband’s security clearance approval.
Newbold also told the committee that Kline oversaw files that included “extensive and sensitive background check documents” and that those files were not secured properly. She adds that Kline stopped doing proper credit checks for potential employees.
“As little as I am, I’m willing to fight and stand up for what I know is right, and they’ve always respected that about me,” Ms. Newbold told the House committee last week. “It’s humiliating to not be able to independently work and do the job that you need.”