Trump axes security clearance for former Central Intelligence Agency director Brennan

Pauline Gross
August 16, 2018

Former Justice Department official and "Life, Liberty & Levin" host Mark Levin blasted critics of President Trump's move to revoke ex-CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance.

Brennan led the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017 and has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

Mr Brennan's clearance was placed under review last month after he called Mr Trump's meeting with President Putin in Helsinki "nothing short of treasonous".

Mr Trump is also reviewing access to classified information for former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who he fired a year ago, and former director of national intelligence James Clapper, among others.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the decision at a White House briefing Wednesday.

Hayden told CNN viewers on Wednesday that Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's clearance was "threatening to the rest of us" and amounted to an attempt to silence dissent.

The White House has been besieged by a scandal over a former aide's tell-all memoir in recent days and often tries to defuse crises by stoking new controversy.

For decades, former national security officials have retained classified clearance in part so that they can be consulted on closely held information by officials in ensuing administrations.

In an interview with MSNBC, for which he works as an analyst, Brennan said: "If Mr Trump believes this is going to lead me to just go away and be quiet, he is very badly mistaken".

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The move to pull his security clearance prompted immediate outrage, including from Brennan himself.

"The president has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it, and that's what he's doing is fulfilling that responsibility in this action".

Former intelligence officials said Trump has moved from threatening to revoke security clearances of former intelligence officials who have not been involved in the Russian Federation investigation to former officials who did work on the probe.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russia's alleged efforts to interfere in the 2016 USA election, and whether there was any collusion between the Kremlin and Mr Trump's campaign.

Some suggested Trump might have grander, and more nefarious ambitions: he could be testing the waters on stripping Mueller of his security clearance.

Brennan's thesaurus-heavy Tweets and self-righteous grandstanding have made him a hero to the anti-Trump #resistance. The president has criticized him on Twitter because of his connection to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier containing damaging information about then-candidate Trump.

He added: "So I think it's something that had to be done".

Trump also said he was considering revoking the clearance of several other former intelligence and law-enforcement officials - many of whom have been critical of him - in the coming weeks.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warns a "dangerous precedent" is being set.

Other reports by GizPress

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