Oversight

Oversight chair reignites probe into controversial Trump aide

U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock) 

The rehiring of John McEntee to serve as head of the Office of Presidential Personnel is reigniting a push on Capitol Hill for more information about security clearance issues that led to McEntee's White House ouster in 2018.

The House Oversight Committee began an investigation into how the White House vetted candidates for security clearances after then-Chief of Staff John Kelly fired McEntee in March 2018 when his security clearance was denied.

Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney sought more information on the rehiring in a Feb. 25 letter to White House General Counsel Pat Cipollone.

"In his new role, Mr. McEntee oversees the recruiting, selection, and vetting of political appointees at the highest levels," Rep. Maloney wrote. "This responsibility requires sound judgment and the ability to assess whether an applicant's conduct poses any threat to the Office of the President. Reports of Mr. McEntee's return to the White House raise significant concerns about whether he is now suitable for such a sensitive position after he was escorted out of the White House and reportedly was unable to maintain a security clearance."

Maloney added that the news of McEntee's rehiring was particularly troubling due to a recent report that President Trump ordered Presidential staffers including McEntee to target political appointees deemed insufficiently loyal to him.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the termination was prompted when the Department of Homeland Security began investigating McEntee for "serious financial crimes." Between 2016 and 2018, McEntee was President Trump's personal assistant, which required him to maintain a top secret clearance.

In Jan. 2019, after he became Oversight Chairman, the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to the White House requesting access to documents concerning McEntee, which Rep. Maloney said went unanswered.

In her latest correspondence, Rep. Maloney gave Cipollone until March 10 to comply with requests to provide relevant documents, as well as brief members of Congress on the details of McEntee's rehiring and the security clearance process.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a former staff writer and associate editor at FCW.

Featured

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected