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WikiLeaks: FBI Denied Obama Aide Security Clearance in 2008

Image: WikiLeaks: FBI Denied Obama Aide Security Clearance in 2008

Barack Obama (AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 10:19 PM

A top national security aide to President Barack Obama was denied a security clearance by the FBI shortly after the Democrat was first elected to the White House in 2008, hacked emails released by WikiLeaks show.

The FBI denied the clearance to Ben Rhodes during the transition period for the Obama administration in October 2008, LawNewz.com reported.

Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. Rhodes is now White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

He has advised President Obama on national security matters that include the Iran nuclear agreement. Rhodes has been a foreign policy speechwriter for Obama since 2007.

The email was released by WikiLeaks and was hacked from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, according to LawNewz.

"The FBI has indicated that they are inclined to decline interim security clearance for Benjamin Rhodes who is OFA senior speechwriter and national security policy person," Cassandra Butts, a lawyer for Obama's transition team, wrote Podesta in an email dated Oct. 29, 2008.

"They have not shared an explanation as to why," she said. "If his interim status is denied, the FBI will still undertake a full-clearance process review of his application post-election and make a final determination.

"In terms of our options," Butts told Podesta, "we could ask the FBI for an explanation on the denial and make a determination if it is worth pushing to obtain an interim status, or we can wait for the full review post-election."

In a later follow-up email, however, Butts told Podesta the Obama transition team would not challenge the FBI in the matter.

"We agree that it would not be worth pushing for Benjamin Rhodes to receive interim status," she said.

However, Rhodes was the only transition member denied a clearance out of nearly 200 applicants, Butts noted.

"For your information, out of the approximately 187 people who we have moved through the process Benjamin was the only person declined interim status," she said.

It was not clear why the FBI declined to approve Rhodes' security clearance, LawNewz reports.

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A top national security aide to President Barack Obama was denied a security clearance by the FBI shortly after the Democrat was first elected to the White House in 2008, hacked emails released by WikiLeaks show.
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2016-19-03
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 10:19 PM
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