WASHINGTON — A White House security specialist has been suspended without pay for defying her supervisor Carl Kline, less than a week after NBC News reported Kline approved Jared Kushner for top secret clearance over the objections of career staff.
The specialist, Tricia Newbold, had filed a discrimination complaint against Kline three months ago.
Newbold’s two-week suspension from the White House security office was for failure to supervise, failure to follow instructions and defiance of authority, according to the suspension decision notice obtained by NBC News. Security office chief Crede Bailey first proposed the suspension on Dec. 3, 2018.
Wednesday’s notice is signed by Bailey and mentions that in Newbold’s 18-year career she has not faced any “prior formal disciplinary action.” The document also harshly criticizes Newbold for her “defiance” and notes that Newbold said she would “continue to do what is best for the Executive Office of the President.”
In the notice, the chief security officer denies that the suspension has anything to do with Newbold’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.
Newbold’s lawyer considers her a whistleblower and said he believes the administrative charges were brought as payback for her decision to file the complaint against Kline.
“It’s clearly reprisal for her whistleblowing,” said her lawyer Ed Passman. “[It] has no basis in merit whatsoever.”
Newbold told NBC News, “I confidently feel that this is completely unwarranted and I am also confident that I have done nothing wrong, every decision I and my team have made have always been in the best interest of the United States,” she said. “There is no compromise of personally identifiable information or sensitive information.”