According to CNN, President Trump has revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance. The President’s latest decision was announced by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
Reading a statement issued on behalf of Trump, Sanders said, “As the head of the executive branch and commander in chief, I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation’s classified information, including by controlling access to it. Today, in fulfilling that responsibility, I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”
While President Trump had publicly announced that he was pondering taking such action last month, he was greatly criticized for even considering such an abuse of his presidential authority by punishing his political adversaries for their criticism of his administration. Brennan has been a longtime critic of the President, which may or may not speak to Trump’s motive for making this decision.
In Sanders’ statement, she went on to claim that Brennan had ordered the infiltration of Senate computers during his time as CIA director and used his former job title to disparage the current presidential administration through “increasingly frenzied commentary.”
“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos,” Sanders continued.
“Such access,” she said, “is particularly inappropriate when such officials have transitioned into highly political positions.”
In addition to revoking Brennan’s security clearance, Trump is also planning to review the security clearances of other former high-level government employees, such as James Comey, Sally Yates, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, and Susan Rice, all of whom have actively criticized both the president and his administration.
Breaking away from the prepared statement, Sanders then spoke out in defense of the President’s decision, asserting that, “The President has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it and that’s what he’s doing is fulfilling this responsibility.”
Sanders also insisted that Trump is not trying to punish his critics by reviewing and possibly revoking their security clearances, but was unable to explain how former national security Michael Flynn, who openly admitted to lying to the FBI, had managed to keep his security clearance.
Furthermore, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, revealed to CNN that he was never consulted on the matter, despite the fact that he is currently the top government intelligence official.