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WASHINGTON — The U.S. government's system of security clearances for top officials is "broken" and must be completely overhauled, the Trump administration's intelligence chief told The Associated Press, as questions swirl about how a top White House aide kept his access to highly sensitive information and the president despite accusations of domestic violence.
Dan Coats' assessment in a telephone interview came just before he briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill about global threats facing the United States. Coats was immediately confronted Tuesday by a top Democratic senator about continued questions about Rob Porter, who resigned his job as President Donald Trump's staff secretary last week after stories emerged detailing two ex-wives' accounts of abuse.
Porter - Security - Clearance - Background - Check
Porter had been serving with an interim security clearance while his background check was pending, the White House said, a common occurrence for officials in a government facing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of such security reviews.
"We have a broken system and I think everybody's come to agree with that now," Coats told the AP.
Amid - Coats - Criticism - Security - Clearance
Amid Coats' criticism of the security clearance process, FBI Director Christopher Wray provided a timeline of the agency's work on a background check for Porter — raising new questions about the White House's version of events.
Wray said the FBI submitted a "partial report on the investigation in question" in March 2017 and a completed background investigation in late July. "Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November," Wray said.
Follow-up - File - January - Month - Information
He did not say who requested the follow-up. "And then we administratively closed the file in January, and then earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that on as well," he added without elaborating further.
The White House has repeatedly said that Porter's "background investigation was ongoing" when he resigned his position,...
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