U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to members of the media following a televised town hall event on the “Green New Deal” in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 29, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)
Congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has reportedly taken a jab at White House senior adviser Jared Kushner after allegations emerged that he was using WhatsApp to conduct official government business.
In March, Democrat Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, accused Kushner of using the messaging app to discuss classified information in a letter to the White House.
The Hill reported Ocasio-Cortez as saying that "we are getting reports from the press and from a wide variety of sources that indicate that ... we are conducting foreign relations with folks with security clearances via WhatsApp," during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on White House security clearances.
While addressing the hearing, the congresswoman claimed that "every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds, if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk. I mean, really. What is next? Putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?"
"This is ridiculous," Ocasio-Cortez said, while calling on lawmakers to get to the bottom of these concerns and address the "wrongdoings" of the Trump administration when it comes to granting clearance. "Everyday that there is an insecure line of communication that could be leaked, that could be hacked, that could be screenshot-ed without proper channels is a day that we are putting our national security at risk.”
Last month, The New York Times reported that Trump ordered officials to grant Kushner clearance despite objections of national security officials.
On Monday, Cummings released a memo, which quoted whistleblower Tricia Newbold, a long-serving government employee who has overseen the issuing of clearances for several senior White House aides.
Newbold compiled a list of at least 25 officials who were initially denied security clearances last year but were eventually granted access after senior officials overruled those decisions.
Cummings’ panel has been looking into security clearances issued to senior officials including Kushner.
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