The director of national intelligence said Tuesday the background check process for security clearances for White House staff is “broken.”
Dan Coats did not name anyone specifically, but the response was during a Senate Committee Hearing when he was questioned about former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter resigned last week over abuse allegations from his ex-wives, and it was revealed he had access to sensitive and classified information while working with only an interim security clearance.
The background check process is “broken and needs to be reformed," Coats said.
“Sometimes it is necessary to have some type of preliminary clearance in order to fill a slot, but access has to be limited in terms of the kinds of information they can be in a position to receive or not receive,” Coats explained of interim clearances.
There is a reported backup of roughly 700,000 background checks for security clearance.
“We need to do more to reform the broken security clearance system,” Sen. Mark Warner, committee’s top Democrat, said earlier in the hearing.
The current program is “high risk,” Warner explained, and costing taxpayers “millions of dollars.”