Aside from the fact that the White House’s attitude about security clearances is on the same level as Trump’s self-control on Twitter, they are retaliating against Tricia Newbold, the whistle-blower at the White House Personnel Security Office, for telling Congress that a number of high-level appointees flunked their background checks.
Ms. Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, also accused Mr. Kline, the former director of personnel security, of retaliating against her when she repeatedly pointed out to him that actions he was taking, including overriding recommendations to issue clearances to two senior officials, were violating protocol. Ms. Newbold said that Mr. Kline oversaw a workplace where files — including extensive and sensitive background check documents — were not secured properly, and stopped the performing of credit checks for potential employees. She told the House committee that she had “never seen our office so ill-staffed and with such lack of experience.”
Last fall, Ms. Newbold filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing Mr. Kline of moving office files to a shelf several feet above her, deliberately out of her reach, beginning in December 2017. That month, she hired Mr. Passman, her lawyer.
“As little as I am, I’m willing to fight and stand up for what I know is right, and they’ve always respected that about me,” Ms. Newbold told the House committee last week. “It’s humiliating to not be able to independently work and do the job that you need.”
In January, Ms. Newbold was suspended for two weeks without pay after NBC News reported that Mr. Kline had approved a security clearance for Mr. Kushner despite staff objections. The office’s new director, Crede Bailey, said at the time that Ms. Newbold had refused to “support new procedures your supervisor implemented.”
Within the past two weeks, Mr. Passman said she was also removed from her supervisory role at work. On Monday, the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether she could expect to continue in her job. In the evening, Ms. Newbold’s lawyer said she had gone back to work without incident.
Frankly, I’m impressed that so far Trump hasn’t come out with some kind of flagrant mockery of Ms. Newbold and her disability; it’s not like he’s never done that before, and it’s about at his level of maturity. But the kind of workplace harassment she’s been subjected to is about on the level of what you would expect from the people who think it’s an honor to work for such a venial and petty autocrat.