Trump revokes security clearance from ex-CIA director
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Trump revokes security clearance from ex-CIA director

White House says John Brennan ‘leveraged his status’ to criticize the president with ‘unfounded and outrageous allegations’

In this May 23, 2017, photo, former CIA director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In this May 23, 2017, photo, former CIA director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — US President Donald Trump is revoking the security clearance of former Obama administration CIA director John Brennan, a vocal critic of the president, the White House said Wednesday.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Brennan has been deeply critical of Trump’s conduct, calling his performance at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland “nothing short of treasonous.”

Sanders said the security clearances of other current and former officials are also “under review.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, accompanied by White House Deputy White press secretary Hogan Gidley arrives to read a statement from President Donald Trump announcing that he is removing the security clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan on August 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

They include former FBI Director James Comey; James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump’s deputy FBI director until he was fired in March.

Also on the list: fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

At least two of the former officials, Comey and McCabe, do not currently have security clearances.

Experts have said that stripping a security clearance in response to public criticism would be an unprecedented politicization of the clearance process.

In this July 27, 2017 file photo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Former CIA directors and other top national security officials are typically allowed to keep their clearances, at least for some period, so they can be in a position to advise their successors and to hold certain jobs.

Democrats lined up to denounce Trump’s decision.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, said Trump’s move was a “stunning abuse of power.”

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned a “dangerous precedent” was being set.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said of Trump, “Leaders behave like this in dictatorships, not democracies.”

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