Defense Secretary James Mattis attends a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"A government backlog of 700,000 security clearance reviews has led agencies like the Defense Department to inadvertently issue interim passes to criminals — even rapists and killers — fueling calls for better and faster vetting of people with access to the nation's secrets," AP's Deb Riechmann writes:

  • "It takes ... nine to 10 months for 'top-secret' clearance."
  • How it happened: "The backlog grew significantly after the government stopped doing business with a contractor that suffered a data breach in 2014. That depleted ... investigations by 60 percent."

Go deeper

GAO finds Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible for top DHS roles

Photo: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to be serving in their positions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) decided in a report released Friday.

Why it matters: While the finding has no immediate power, it could be important evidence in litigation over policies enacted under Wolf and Cuccinelli's leadership, said America's Voice's Ur Jaddou, who served as chief counsel to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under President Obama.

The many divisions over Trump's methane rollback

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

EPA's decision to cut regulation of methane is laying bare an oil-and-gas industry divide and setting the stage for political battles this fall and beyond.

Why it matters: Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas and the industry is a key emissions source.

Kushner says Trump didn't promote false Kamala Harris birtherism theory

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told "CBS This Morning" on Friday that he does not believe President Trump promoted a baseless claim that Sen. Kamala Harris is ineligible to be vice president.

Driving the news: During a press briefing on Thursday, Trump did not question the veracity of a Newsweek op-ed that inaccurately claimed Harris may be ineligible for the office due to her parents' naturalization status at the time of her birth. Harris is an American citizen and was born in Oakland, Calif.