Former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked by President Trump Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed to reporters that the president is considering revoking other security clearances of former senior Obama administration officials.
Brennan responded to the news, writing on Twitter that he “will not relent.”
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
Trump’s decision to revoke the clearance came on the heels of new tweets issued by Brennan over the past several weeks attacking the president. But the tweets and statements made on MSNBC were not just critical in nature but in some cases accused Trump of treason and alluded to unverified rumors that Russia was blackmailing Trump.
Brennan’s actions are unconscionable
This behavior is not just endemic to Brennan but former senior Obama appointees like National Security Advisor James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Eric Holder and others have gone to social media and cable news outlets to express their displeasure with Trump, as well as instigating unproven allegations that the president could be blackmailed by Russia.
“Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy,” Sanders said during a Wednesday press briefing. “Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.”
Their behavior–said numerous former and current intelligence officials–is damaging to the nation’s national security and eroding the trust the American people have in their institutions.
“Brennan’s actions are unconscionable, ” said a former senior intelligence official. “Trump did the right thing. He is spreading erroneous and derogatory information about President Trump without any proof and it does nothing more than harm our nation and our national security.”
“It’s detrimental to national security, and what does Brennan gain from this? On the other hand, Putin gains everything…watching former senior government officials devouring the office of the president and doing more damage to our nation than the Kremlin dreamed of,” the intelligence official added.
Individuals of conscience who believe in rule of law should denounce this blatant effort to obstruct justice. As Mr. Trump’s desperation to protect himself grows, he could turn words into actions, prompting a Constitutional crisis. Congress must warn Trump of dire consequences. https://t.co/VUU9M2WcYZ
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 1, 2018
On Tuesday, Trump blasted former White House aide Omarosa Manigault, tweeting, “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” The tweet was highly criticized by both supporters and detractors. Brennan shot back saying “So disheartening, so dangerous for our nation.”
But Brennan, who is now a contributor at MSNBC, has gone much further than his tweet criticizing Trump’s twitter battles. In March, Brennan told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he believed the Russians “may have something on him personally.”
The host asked Brennan if Trump was afraid of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He responded by saying, “The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump, and may have things that they could expose.”
It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation. https://t.co/eI9HaCec1m
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 14, 2018
On Monday, former New York City mayor and Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani said Brennan was the one who started he Trump-Russia investigation and should go before a Grand Jury. He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “The guy running [the Russia investigation] is Brennan, and he should be in front of a Grand Jury.” Brennan took a…dossier…unless he’s the biggest idiot intelligence agent that ever existed…and he peddled it to Harry Reid. That led to the request for the investigation. So, he takes a false dossier, he gets the senators involved…and they demand…a totally phony investigation.”