John Brennan

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File

Trump Revokes Security Clearance For Former CIA Director Brennan

August 15, 2018 - 3:41 pm
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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday made good on his threat to revoke the security clearance of former Obama administration CIA director John Brennan, a vocal critic of the president.

"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 Wednesday.

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."

In response, Brennan issued a tweet characterizing Trump's action as an attempt to silence critics.

"This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out," Brennan wrote. "My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."

Sanders said the security clearances of other current and formers officials are also "under review."

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.

Sanders said last month that the officials have "politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances" by making "baseless accusations" that the Trump administration had improper contact with Russia or was influenced by Russia.

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

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.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)