White House official resigns after issue with security clearance: report

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A top official on the National Economic Council has reportedly resigned after being told that he did not qualify for a full security clearance.

George David Banks, a special assistant to the president for international energy and environmental policy, resigned Tuesday after the White House Counsel’s office informed him that he would not be granted full security clearance because he admitted to smoking marijuana in 2013, Politico reports.

Banks’s departure makes him the third White House official to step down in the past week amid mounting scrutiny over the White House’s handling of security clearances.

Reports have indicated that dozens of White House officials have been operating without a full security clearance. The issue was thrust into the spotlight after former staff secretary Rob Porter resigned last week over accusations of past domestic abuse.

Porter had been working under an interim security clearance. Days after he resigned, White House speechwriter David Sorensen also stepped down amid allegations of prior domestic abuse, claims which he denied.

The White House has faced growing questions about its handling of the Porter case and its process for determining who is granted clearance.

Porter had been operating with an interim security clearance during his time in the administration due to the accusations from his ex-wives. FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday said the bureau completed a background check on Porter in July for his security clearance, and submitted additional details in November and January.

Chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE reportedly knew about the accusations against Porter early last year, but allowed him to continue in his position. The White House has maintained its account of the timeline of the handling of the accusations, saying that the background check process was ongoing when Porter resigned.

Lawmakers have criticized the security clearance process and the White House’s handling of Porter, while the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday announced that they had launched an investigation into Porter’s security clearance.

Updated: 1:38 p.m.