Pressure is growing on the State Department to revoke the security clearances of several of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, potentially jeopardizing her ability to name her own national security team should she become president.
The move could force Clinton to make an uncomfortable choice: abandon longtime advisers or face another political maelstrom by overriding the White House security agency.
It’s not clear if Clinton or her longtime aides Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan still hold active security clearances. The information is protected under the Privacy Act and absent permission from each person, the only way it can be made public is if State sees an overriding public interest in disclosing it — an unlikely scenario.
But department spokesman John Kirby said earlier this week that former officials could still face “administrative sanctions” for past actions — sanctions that could in theory make it incredibly difficult to be approved for security clearance in the future.
Clinton, should she be elected president, would be functionally exempt from security vetting as a constitutional officer— it’s “the reason it was always indictment or bust” with Clinton, says Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in classified information cases. The only circumstance in which she’s likely to become a “federal employee” again is if she’s elected president.
But for Abedin and Sullivan, the loss or rejection of their security credentials would be a career-ender in Washington.