US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the clearance process was "broken" and needs to be reformed.
He was responding to a question about former White House aide Rob Porter, who allegedly beat his wife, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Mr Kushner reportedly has only interim security clearance, like Mr Porter.
Mr Coats was one of several spymasters who gave evidence on Tuesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee about global threats facing the US.
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