In an effort to show that they take security seriously (even though they do not take security seriously), the Trump White House has searched out a sacrificial lamb who can be directed to the door. And they’ve found one in the form of someone who Once. Used. Pot.
George David Banks, who had served since February 2017 as special assistant to the president for international energy and environmental policy, told POLITICO that he was informed by the White House counsel’s office Tuesday that his application for a permanent clearance would not be granted over his past marijuana use.
Naturally, Banks would be a security threat if someone was to blackmail him over the idea that he once smoked pot. Only … nope, because that’s a stupid idea. Or because he might go into Reefer Madness at any point. Which is … probably something Jeff Sessions believes. Since the White House gets to set the requirements for security clearance, the Trump White House has decided to put any previous use of marijuana on the list of killer issues. Make that admitted use of marijuana. Because no would believe that Jared Kusher was bud-free.
Which makes for an interesting contrast: The Trump White House believes that previous use of marijuana is a disqualifying act, even when the applicant is upfront about the issue. On the other hand, spousal abuse is something that can be sent back to the FBI for more details, and more details, and more …
The administration has tried to crack down on the use of interim clearances in recent months. POLITICO reported Tuesday that the White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances for anyone in the executive office of the president last fall, but let existing employees with interim clearances stay on.
Of the three dozen people still working in the White House on interim clearances, how many have already had reports sent from the FBI which the White House office has either sent back for more details, or where it has simply failed to act?