Former US security leaders blast Trump for yanking clearance

Larry Hoffman
August 17, 2018

The commander who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden says he'd consider it "an honor" for President Donald Trump to revoke his security clearance.

Joint statement from William Webster, Hayden, Panetta, Petraeus, Clapper, John McLaughlin, Mike Morell - in total 12 former directors and deputy directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and a former DNI - criticizing Trump for revoking Brennan's clearance.

Two of them - Clapper and former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden - have appeared on a list of people whose security clearance the White House has publicly threatened to remove. President Donald Trump acted August 15, 2018, on a threat and revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, citing a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information.

The White House said that Trump chose to revoke Brennan's clearance because of his "erratic" behavior and "increasingly frenzied commentary".

She also played a clip of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggesting that the precedent Trump has now established could be destructive in other ways: "The other question I have is: Where does this end?"

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders calls on a member of the media during the daily press briefing at the White House, Aug. 15, 2018.

What Trump said about Sessions earlier: The back-and-forth between Trump and Sessions came just two days after Trump unleashed his latest public criticism of his attorney general, tweeting that "if we had a real Attorney General", the special counsel's investigation "would never have been started". If Director Brennan's statement is based on intelligence he received while leading the CIA, why didn't he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment.

John Brennan
Donald Trump news Mr Brennan said Mr Trump was trying to silence his censure of the White House

Trump's statement said the Brennan issue raises larger questions about the practice of allowing former officials to maintain their security clearances, and said that those of other officials were under review. Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official now in the criminal division, was also on the White House list.

Mr Brennan accused Donald Trump of withdrawing his clearance to distract from problems he is encountering and that he is following a playbook used by tyrants, despots and dictators.

"I don't trust many of those people on that list", Trump told the Journal.

"My principles are very important to me having been raised in a good Irish family that really put honesty, integrity and proof above all else".

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

"Mr. Brennan has gone way over the line in my view and I think restricting his clearance, pulling his clearance makes sense to me", he said.

There was no suggestion that Brennan has leaked classified information.

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