CNN national security expert says Jared Kushner is violating key rules and laws in at least three ways

CNN national security expert says Jared Kushner is violating key rules and laws in at least three ways
DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has been voicing his concerns this week over senior White House aide Jared Kushner’s use of WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging service, for official government business. And during a Friday appearance on CNN, national security analyst Samantha Vinograd explained why she believes that Kushner’s actions are so problematic.

“Jared Kushner is following the president’s lead: he’s using his devices in an unauthorized way,” Vinograd told a CNN panel that also included legal analyst Paul Callan and political commentator Joe Lockhart. “So, it doesn’t surprise me in that respect. But the use of WhatsApp to communicate with a foreign leader is really hitting a triple, but unfortunately, not for the home U.S. team.”

Vinograd, who served on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, went on to explain why Kushner was “hitting a triple” in terms of violating White House security rules.

“Every White House staffer that enters the White House is briefed on at least three things: the Presidential Records Act, classification procedures and counterintelligence risks,” Vinograd noted. “By using WhatsApp, Jared Kushner is knowingly violating the Presidential Records Act. He is using a device and not keeping a record of information that has to do with presidential records.”

Kushner, according to reports, used WhatsApp to communicate with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And Vinograd asserted that if Kushner was “speaking to a foreign leader”—which is “normally a classified conversation”—via WhatsApp, he was “breaking the classification rules” because WhatsApp “is not a classified app” even though it’s encrypted.

Addressing counterintelligence concerns, Vinograd added that because of Kushner, the Saudi crown prince “may have more information than the U.S. government”—which “gives the Saudis a manipulation point over Jared Kushner yet again,” she warned.


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