An anonymous reader writes: Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani was recently detailed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from a position at the the Federal Trade Commission. Former Google executive and White House chief technology officer Megan Smith extended a warm welcome. His portfolio at the White House included privacy issues, data ethics, and outreach to the technical community, among others. His drug test was complete, and the FBI investigation for his clearance was under way, when the wheels came off. His clearance was denied. Ashkan's move to the White House surprised some when it was announced due to his history. Ashkan had worked at the Washington Post where he helped analyze and safeguard the Snowden NSA document dump. A technologist at the ACLU noted that Ashkan had published many stories that probably irritated US intelligence officials. Government organizations have previously warned government employees to not access classified information made available in the media. Nobody is directly stating this is the reason, but the subtexts seem clear enough. Ashkan intends to leave Washington and head back to the west coast.