According to the New York Times, we have a new American hero – and her name is Tricia Newbold.
Her heroic act: telling the Democrat-controlled House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a private interview, that White House officials had grown frustrated with her attempts to block more than 25 Trump administration people from getting security clearances and overruled her and granted the clearances.
Career employees hired under Democrats – Newbold came to the White House when Bill Clinton was president – have been a persistent problem for the Trump administration because of their allegiances, policy preferences and propensity to leak.
Newbold was not discussing efforts by burrowed in employees to thwart the administration’s policy objectives and slow its actions by attempting to deny security clearances to people such as the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, presidential advisor Jared Kushner.
No, she was accusing “her own office of rampant mismanagement of the security clearances of at least 25 employees,” which came only “after months of what she characterized as personal discrimination and professional retaliation from Carl Kline, the office’s former director, after she spent roughly a year trying to raise issues internally.”
In a White House “where aggressive leak investigations are conducted in service of President Trump, who has aides sign nondisclosure agreements, Ms. Newbold’s account represents the rarest of developments: a damning on-the-record account from a current employee inside its ranks.”
Katie Rogers, the New York Times reporter responsible for “White House Whistle-Blower Did the Unexpected: She Returned to Work,” did not describe how President Obama tapped the phones of James Rosen of Fox News and those of his parents and that he also had the computer of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson monitored to discover who was leaking to them. Instead, she implied this is a Trump-initiated practice.
Newbold is an all-around good person, the Times writes. She worked her way up to adjudications manager, where her “office is filled with holdovers from other administrations and his meant to be nonpartisan.”
But things changed when President Trump took over. “Yet in the Trump administration the office is filled with people who had little experience in vetting employees in the interest of national security,” Newbold told the House committee last week.
There was “no resolution” on her many complaints, “And I feel that right now this is the last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”
The issue that tipped her over was President Trump’s decision in February to overrule “several senior officials in order to reinstate the security clearance” of Kushner, “despite issues raised during his clearance process.”
This is completely within the president’s power, “but in most cases the Personnel Security Office (where Newbold works) makes a determination about whether to grant one after the FBI has conducted a background check,” the Times wrote.
She told the committee her supervisor retaliated against her “when she repeatedly pointed out to him that actions he was taking, including overriding recommendations to issue clearances to two senior officials, were violating protocol.” Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, also accused the supervisor of deliberately placing some office files on a shelf several feet above her to keep them out of her reach.
The Times also included other details that may explain some of Newbold’s problems at work. She was suspended for two weeks after Kushner’s security clearance was approved because she had refused to “support new procedures your supervisor implemented.”
She also has been removed from her supervisory role at work, but her lawyer said she has gone back to her job without incident. Moreover, Republicans on the committee say she did not necessarily know much about the people she said did not deserve clearances and that Democrats on the panel were using “cherry-picked excerpts.”