Are you coveting a high-level government position and have smoked weed in the past? If the answer is – yes – then your access to the White House has been denied.
That’s the story of George David Banks, a senior White House official on the National Economic Council. He resigned on Tuesday for not being able to receive a permanent security clearance. Banks is the third White House official forced to leave over the last week as the White House is increasing its scrutiny on high-ranking officials, Politico reported.
Banks told Politico that he was informed by the White House counsel’s office Tuesday that his application for a permanent clearance would not be granted because of his past marijuana use in 2013.
The White House accepted his resignation on the same day on Tuesday.
Banks has been fulfilling the role of a special assistant to the president for international energy and environmental policy since February 2017.
Banks, a former Obama administration official, also worked on personnel and vetting issues. He is a former CIA analyst as well and filled a role at the State Department and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“It was an honor to serve the president at the White House and I look forward to supporting the president in the future,” he said.
He said during the Obama administration, the White House usually only denied clearances when there was both past drug use and a lack of full disclosure.
Banks’ resignation comes after the removal of staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last Wednesday amid allegations of verbally and physically abusing his two ex-wives. Speechwriter David Sorensen, who worked at the Council on Environmental Quality, left Friday over domestic abuse claims.
There was no response from the White House over Banks’ resignation.