Trump revokes security clearance for ex-CIA chief John Brennan

Erika Holt
August 17, 2018

Brennan said Wednesday that he had not heard from the CIA or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that his security clearance was being revoked, but learned it when the White House announced it. "Such access is particularly inappropriate when former officials have transitioned into highly partisan positions and seek to use real or perceived access to sensitive information to validate their political attacks".

Brennan has indeed been deeply critical of Trump's conduct, calling his performance at a press conference last month with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland "nothing short of treasonous".

Trump first threatened to revoke Brennan's and other former top officials' security clearances in late July when he accused them of politicizing their public service for personal and professional gain.

Medhi Hasan, Greenwald's colleague at The Intercept, captured the absurdity of Trump's standard for who should and shouldn't have access to classified information by noting that the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, still has a security clearance-a fact that clearly shows Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's clearance was based on a petty grudge, not any reasonable "national security" concerns.

"Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility", Sanders said.

"If we're saying the only way I can speak is to be in adulation mode of this president, I'm sorry", he added.

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Former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies can usually keep access to classified information after leaving office "so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insight and as a professional courtesy", Trump said in an August 15 statement.

At least temporarily, this drew cable news coverage away from former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, her tell-all book and the president's insult-laden response to it, which had been dominating the airwaves for days.

Former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan at a congressional hearing in 2017. But Trump's comments to the Journal underscore that the specific goal was undermining the Russian Federation probe.

Mr Clapper said on CNN that Mr Trump's action is unprecedented and the White House is "making up the criterion as they go" for withdrawing clearances. "But Trump's revocation of Brennan's clearance, and his threats to revoke the clearances of other former officials for the sole reason that they have criticized his conduct and policies, amount to unconstitutional retaliation".

In citing the Russian Federation investigation as his motive for attacking Brennan, the move amounts to one of the rare instances since the firing of former FBI Director James Comey where Trump has shown a willingness to move beyond threats and actually use the powers of the presidency to punish people he believes had a role in the Russian Federation probe. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be President, nor what it takes to be a good, decent and honest person.

Epoch Times contributor Marc Ruskin, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, took issue with the free speech argument. In its announcement, the White House did not point to any specific evidence that Brennan had divulged classified information - furthering the notion that the president was simply engaging in retaliation.

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