Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Trump revokes security clearance for ex-CIA chief Brennan

Deanna Wagner | 16 August, 2018, 11:52

President Donald Trump abruptly revoked the security clearance of ex-CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday, an unprecedented act of retribution against a vocally critical former top US official.

"At this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior". The president described his own action as fulfilling his "constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information". No more was heard about the administration threat, until after Brennan tweeted Tuesday. "I will not relent".

Experts have said that stripping a security clearance in response to public criticism would be an unprecedented politicisation of the clearance process. He also compared Trump to "foreign despots".

In her new memoir Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, Omarosa Manigault Newman alleges to have heard of a tape of the president using the n-word on the set of his reality television show The Apprentice. Trump's statement, distributed to reporters, was dated July 26, 2018, suggesting it could have been held and then released when needed to change a damaging subject.

Sanders' statement Wednesday cited the CIA's infiltration of Senate computers during Brennan's time at the helm of the agency as a reason for the decision, adding that Brennan has "recently leveraged his status" as a former official to "make a series of unfounded allegations" about the administration, which she called "increasingly frenzied commentary".

Following the president's summit last month with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Brennan, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under president Obama, described Trump's behavior as "nothing short of treasonous".

"It should worry all Americans". My principles are worth far more than clearances.

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"John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked".

Also on the list was Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department official in the criminal division.

High-ranking government officials sometimes retain their security clearances after leaving office, allowing them the ability to provide advice as needed to their successors. Ohr is now a Justice Department lawyer.

Another Democratic politician, Tom Guild, running for a House seat from Oklahoma, compared the list of those the president is also considering for revocation of security clearance akin to former President Richard Nixon's "Watergate enemies list".

Critics slammed Trump's action as an abuse of presidential power.

Kerry, a frequent Trump critic, accused the president of putting "petty politics ahead of patriotism".