Trump’s senior advisor to the Middle East has clearance downgraded fearing foreign influence

PNN / Bethlehem

President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is currently in charge of the American lead peace process for the Middle East, has had his security clearance downgraded out of fears that he may have been influenced by foreign nationals.

According to the report by the Washington Post, at least four foreign nations had attempted to exert influence over Kushner by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements – which include former ties to settlement building in the Occupied Territories – his current personal financial difficulties, and his lack of political experience for such a high-level position.

According to the Washington Post, current and former officials warned that efforts being made to influence Kushner were stemming from the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced on Wednesday that Kushner’s interim ‘top-secret’ clearance, which had been awarded to him upon his appointment to the senior advisory role, was to be downgraded to ‘secret’.

Due to his previous financial dealings and lack of political experience, Kushner’s ‘top secret’ clearance had only been appointed on an interim basis, pending further investigation before a final clearance could be granted.

As a result of the downgrade, Kushner will no longer have access to high level documents, such as President Trump’s daily briefing notes which Kushner reportedly read frequently.

President Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R McMaster had reportedly raised concerns that Kushner had made contact with foreign officials but had circumvented the traditional channels which would require clearance from the National Security Council.

The Washington Post reported that officials were concerned that Kushner was being ‘naive and being tricked,’ according to a former White House official.

The decision throws in question Kushner’s ability to continue to lead to peace process without top-secret clearance.

Israeli company Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. co-own shares and profits on a New Jersey apartment building with the Jared Kushner’s company, Kushner Companies.

The two organisations also partnered in an investment into a new Brooklyn skyscraper.

According to U.S tax records, Kushner was also co-director of a family foundation that donated tens of thousands of dollars to Israeli settlement groups in the Occupied Territories.

The foundation also donated at least $298,600 to the ‘Friends of the Israel Defence Forces’ which runs educational and cultural programs for Israeli soldiers, between 2010 and 2012.

The Times of Israel reported last year that Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed familial ties for many years. So much so, that Netanyahu jokingly stated that he had known Kushner since he was a child.

The United States is expected to unveil its peace initiative for Israel and Palestine in the coming months.

The plan, dubbed the ‘ultimate deal’, will reportedly include the creation of a new Palestinian capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem and allocate just over 50% of the West Bank to Palestinians, according to previously leaked reports.

Kushner’s senior advisory role also has him negotiating trade deals with Mexico.