By Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris | Washington Post
WASHINGTON – 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 that the investigation was never completed and that they did not know the extent of the allegations against Porter. He stepped down last week after accusations of spousal abuse by his two ex-wives.
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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.
Wray’s comments stand in stark contrast to how the White House has in recent days portrayed the status of the background check and when senior officials knew about the allegations of abuse against Porter.
Last week, deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah said the background check had not been finished and that the White House saw it as the appropriate forum for the allegations of abuse and Porter’s denials to be investigated.
“We should not short-circuit an investigation just because allegations are made, unless they could compromise national security or interfere with operations at the White House. The truth must be determined,” Shah said on Feb. 8. “And that was what was going on with Rob Porter. His background investigation was ongoing. He was operating on an interim security clearance. His clearance was never denied, and he resigned.”
That message was reiterated by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Monday.
“As I know Raj addressed last week, we let the …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics