Maybe you've never heard of Ashkan Soltani. But you've probably heard of his work.
Soltani helped shed light on the NSA's mass surveillance of American citizens. His work, as part of the Washington Post team that published a series of groundbreaking stories on Edward Snowden's NSA files, was awarded a Pulitzer. Before that, he was chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission. Before that, Soltani investigated some of the world's biggest tech companies on matters of privacy and identity protection. He's one of the country's foremost experts on digital privacy and security. I've interviewed him before.
Soltani's most recent stint was working for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as senior advisor to White House chief technology officer Megan Smith. He was hired at the end of last year. This afternoon, however, Soltani posted an update on Twitter saying that he had been informed last week that he "would not receive the security clearance necessary to continue to work at the White House."
It's unclear why.
I'm told this is something that happens from time to time and I won't speculate on the reasons. I do want to say that I am proud of my work, I passed the mandatory drug screening some time ago, and the FBI background check was still underway.There was also no allegation that it was based on my integrity or the quality of my work.
We've tweeted at White House press secretary Josh Earnest, but have yet to receive a response.
Here's more on Soltani's departure from the Guardian.