The White House prohibited new interim security clearances last fall, but staffers who had already obtained one were permitted to hold onto it, according to a report late Tuesday.
According to an email from Nov. 7 sent to officials at the Office of Management and Budget, the White House personnel security office said it would not be issuing more interim security clearances and pending requests would be rejected, Politico reports.
An explanation for the ban was not given and the report says it is unclear whether it is still in place.
The report comes just after the White House had come under fire for how it has addressed allegations of abuse against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter announced last week he would be stepping down after reports were published on his ex-wives accusing him of abuse.
Porter had obtained and interim security clearance, putting a focus on how his background check was conducted.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that the agency provided the White House the final results of its background check on Porter in July. Upon being asked to investigate further, the FBI provided the White House with an additional report in November.
This appeared to contradict what White House press secretary Sarah Sanders' statements Monday when she said his clearance was “handled by our law enforcement community and “hadn’t been completed” as of last week when Porter stepped down.
But Sanders claimed her previous statements were not misleading.
“The White House personnel security office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation report in November,” Sanders said Tuesday. “But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned.”
White House chief of staff John Kelly has received backlash for initially defending Porter, and has not revealed why Porter was kept on staff after the FBI provided details on its findings.