Trump revokes security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, with nine others under review
At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Donald Trump was revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan. In addition, Sanders announced that Trump was reviewing the clearance of former FBI director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former CIA director Michael Hayden, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, former associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, former chief of the FBI counterespionage section Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Notably, the only thing that any of the people on the list had in common was that they were either critics of Trump, or associated with someone who had spoken out against his actions.
Traditionally, former leaders in the military and intelligence communities keep their security clearance so they can be consulted on any crisis that may arise and the government has access to their experience and insight. CNN reports that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was not consulted before these announcements were made.
When Trump first suggested that he would revoke the security clearance of former intelligence officials, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan had a less than comforting response. As the Huffington Post reported, NBC reporter Kasie Hunt suggested that such an action was the kind of thing that happened in “a banana republic.” Ryan responded by “laughing off” the idea and told members of the press, “I think he’s just trolling people.”
While the QAnon inanity grips Trump supporters, the Trump White House has long been overrun with an equally ludicrous conspiracy theory, one in which John Brennan is the spider at the center of the web, and somehow originated the Russia investigation. Trump has frequently tweeted about Brennan and called him “the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community.” Brennan has been an obsession of Trump’s, with multiple reports that place Brennan, Clapper, and Comey together in an “attempted Deep State coup.” Trump has made numerous accusations that Brennan has somehow tried to profit from his security clearance … though he hasn’t given any examples.
Trump appears fully prepared to rob the nation of decades of international experience, retaining only those who “say nice things about him”—regardless of their knowledge or competence.
Note that the date on Trump’s message that he was revoking Brennan’s security clearance, was just two days after the statement from Paul Ryan that Trump was only “trolling.”
Someone has bad judgement here and … no surprise, it’s both of them.
The White House has made available Trump’s statement on Brennan in which he accused Brennan of “wild outbursts on the Internet and television,” “increasingly frenzied commentary” and “making unfounded and outrageous accusations.”
Trump also says that this “raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our Nation’s most sensitive secrets” suggesting that he intends to cut off everyone outside his circle.
The structure and wording of this document suggests that it was written by Stephen Miller.