President enjoys ultimate authority to order that security clearances be granted or denied.
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
The President has ultimate authority over clearance adjudications. All federal agency security officials derive their powers from the President and can be overruled by the President. A President's decision to grant or deny clearance is not subject to challenge.
In light of questions raised this week about the Trump administration's handling of security clearance adjudications in the White House by a "whistle-blower," it is important to remember that the President of the United States has ultimate authority over all clearance and classification decisions. The powers to classify information (or to declassify it) and to grant or deny security clearances flow from the President's Constitutional powers, among them, the President's status as Commander in Chief. All security officials working in the federal government are exercising their powers to grant or deny clearances only because those powers have been delegated to them from the President. In actuality, they are making the adjudications in the President's name. So, simply put, if the President wants a person to have clearance, the President can order it regardless of security officials' views. Because the President has this ultimate authority over clearances, it is simply legally impossible to assert that a President "improperly" or "wrongly" ordered security clearance be granted.