Cordish's departure, reported earlier by the Washington Post, comes as the White House has faced an exodus of high-level staff in recent weeks and a scandal over its handling of domestic abuse charges and security clearances.
Among the proposed changes is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which conducts background checks for senior administration hires, hand-deliver checks upon completion and verbally brief the White House counsel on any "significantly derogatory" findings.
Procedures for granting interim top-secret clearances will also be changed, according to the memo.
"The American people deserve a White House staff that clearly meets the highest standards and that has been carefully vetted - especially those who work closely with the president or handle sensitive national security information", the memo, which is addressed to White House counsel Don McGahn, National Security Adviser HR McMaster, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joseph Hagin. On Thursday, NBC News reported that only 10 of 24 National Security Council members listed on an internal White House document had been issued permanent security clearances as of November of past year. Despite reports he had been willing to resign amid the backlash, Kelly's memo seems to reinforce his desire to stay on board. According to reports from NBC News and CNN this week, about 100 White House administrations lacked long-term security clearances as of November 2017.
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But he took issue with a media report that said the $100,000 spent by the administration ultimately failed to acquire the stolen hacking tools.
This blew a gaping hole in the claim by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that White House officials were unaware of the allegations until they were questioned about them February 6 by the Daily Mail, which also had a photo of his first wife, Colbie Holderness, with a black eye and swollen cheekbone that she said were just the most-visible damage done by her "verbally, emotionally and physically abusive" ex-husband.
Among the upcoming changes is a new process under which all background investigations "of potential Commissioned Officers should be flagged for the FBI at the outset and then hand-delivered to the White House Counsel personally upon completion". The staff secretary, who had access to classified documents delivered to the president, maintained his interim clearance until he resigned last week.
The memo also warned about issues with the security clearance process across the federal government. He also ended in September the practice of granting new interim security clearances "absent extraordinary circumstances" and his signoff, and directed a review of pending security clearance applications. Facing a credibility crisis of his own, Kelly sought to rewrite his actions, telling staff he had acted more swiftly than widely believed to obtain Porter's resignation. Kushner, however, has yet to be granted full security clearance. And he is ushering in a "temporary clearance for a period of 180 days, with an option to extend the interim clearance for another 90 days if no significant derogatory information ... has been discovered".