Trump considers revoking clearances of ex-Obama officials who criticize him
search

Trump considers revoking clearances of ex-Obama officials who criticize him

John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, Michael Hayden, Susan Rice, and Andrew McCabe could all be penalized for castigating president over Putin meeting

Former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 23, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/ AFP)
Former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 23, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/ AFP)

US President Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of a half dozen former Obama administration officials and critics of his presidency in what would be an unprecedented politicization of the clearance process.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president is “exploring the mechanisms” to strip clearance from former CIA director John Brennan and former FBI director Jim Comey, as well as four other former top national security officials: James Clapper, Michael Hayden, Susan Rice, and Andrew McCabe.

Sanders accused the officials of having “politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances” by “making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia.”

“The fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” she said.

Then-FBI Director James Comey sworn in prior to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 3, 2017. (AFP/ JIM WATSON)

The comments came hours after Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Brennan’s clearance at a meeting with Trump.

“Just got out of WH meeting with @realDonaldTrump. I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and other partisans should have their security clearances revoked,” Paul tweeted. “Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees.”

US President Donald Trump waves to members of the media as he walks towards the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Brennan had offered scathing criticism of the president’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Monday, calling their press conference “nothing short of treasonous.” While standing next to Putin, Trump had openly questioned his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 US election, and seemed to accept Putin’s insistence that Russia’s hands were clean.

Hayden responded Monday via Twitter, saying a revocation would not “have any effect on what I say or write.”

And Melissa Schwartz, a spokesman for McCabe, tweeted that his security clearance had already been deactivated when he was terminated, “according to what we were told was FBI policy.”

US national security adviser Susan Rice speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2015 Policy Conference, March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

“You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps,” she wrote.

At the joint appearance in Finland with Putin, Trump repeated the Russian leader’s denials about involvement in the election.

“He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said of Putin after a two hour meeting together in Helsinki. “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Amid a wave of criticism from Democrats and some leading Republicans, and after Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both reportedly urged him to clarify his comments, Trump told reporters less than two days later that he had misspoken and meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments