Trump opts to revoke former Central Intelligence Agency director Brennan's security clearance

Trump revokes security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan

In a statement on Wednesday, Trump said he revoked Brennan's authorization for making what he called "unfounded and outrageous allegations" about his administration and was evaluating whether to strip clearances from other former top officials.

The Trump administration stripped the retired intelligence official of his security clearance, which the president suggested was punishment for Brennan's criticism, and the "Morning Joe" analyst said those warnings rose above partisan jabs.

The statement added that the White House is considering revoking the security clearance of a number of other former Obama era officials including James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who Trump fired in May 2017.

Mr Brennan, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, has been a sharp critic of Mr Trump, frequently appearing on cable television news shows to attack his foreign policy positions.

Speaking in a TV interview, he said Trump is trying to intimidate and suppress critics of his administration.

But several of the officials identified by the White House for review may not even have active security clearances to revoke.

In the Journal interview, Trump said he was prepared to yank Brennan's clearance last week, but that it was too "hectic".

"My principles are worth far more than clearances", he added".

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mr Trump's press secretary, insisted the White House was not targeting only Trump critics.

"I just think that he has not fulfilled the responsibilities of the president of the United States". It also was a clear escalation in Trump's battle with members of the US intelligence community as the investigation into Russian Federation election meddling and possible collusion and obstruction of justice continues.

Traditionally, former officials maintain their security clearance to advise their successors, but Trump argued there is little utility in allowing Brennan to keep his clearance.

Officials at risk of seeing their security clearances revoked expressed concern about Trump using his presidential authority to strike back at critics but said revoking their security clearances would have little impact on them.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Brennan cites press reports and Trump's own goading of Russian Federation during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton's missing emails.

You can read President Trump's entire statement about revoking security clearances below.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she saw no grounds for revoking Brennan's security clearance, "unless there is disclosure of classified information, of which I'm unaware". The official said they worry that Trump will go further and revoke security clearances of individuals who are now working directly on the Russian Federation investigation. "I think that they're very duplicitous".

The president has denied any collusion.

He served as chief counterterrorism advisor to former president Barack Obama; with the title Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.

"Trump demonstrates again how deeply insecure and vindictive he is - two character flaws risky in any president", said Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. Calling Trump the most divisive president in history, Brennan added, "he is feeding and fueling hatred and animosity and misunderstandings among Americans".

The names amount to an unofficial enemies list for this White House. "I also believe this action to silence a critic is unlawful", he said.

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