Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe finds it ironic that former CIA Director John Brennan is complaining about President Donald Trump abusing his authority, when the former Obama administration official admitted the agency he led had spied on Congress.
Following Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance on Wednesday, the former CIA chief told MSNBC the president has sent “a chilling message” and the press has an obligation to “shine a very bright light on … this abuse of power.”
On FNC’s “Outnumbered” on Thursday, Boothe said, “I find it a little bit rich for the guy, John Brennan, who was at the helm of the CIA, had to apologize to Senate Intel Committee members for spying on them and then lying to them about the fact that he spied on them.”
“I find it a little rich that he’s out there now bemoaning abuse of power when clearly he, at the helm of the CIA, abused his power,” she added. “I don’t think it’s quite as vindictive as using the IRS to go after political opponents either.”
The New York Times reported that the intelligence community’s inspector general determined in 2014 that CIA officers penetrated a computer system used by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The report by the agency’s inspector general also found that C.I.A. officers read the emails of the Senate investigators and sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department based on false information,” according to The Times.
Following the revelations, Brennan apologized to then Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
A few months before the inspector general issued its 2014 report, Brennan stated at a Council on Foreign Relations event that the CIA did not hack Senate computers.
“As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said. “I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s — that’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we would do.”
After the release of the IG’s report in July 2014, Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., demanded Brennan’s resignation.
“The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said. “This grave misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.”
In a statement released Wednesday concerning the revocation of Brennan’s security clearance, Trump made reference to the former director’s agency spying on the Senate, as well as the role he played in launching the Russia investigation during the 2016 presidential race, relying in part on the so-called Steele dossier.
“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 statement read.
In a tweet last month, Brennan labeled Trump’s performance during a joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous,” adding it rose to the level of “high crimes & misdemeanors.”
In other words, the Obama administration CIA director was saying Trump should be impeached.
Brennan — who was hired by MSNBC/NBC News in February as a military and intelligence analyst — also attacked the president on air, including calling for members of his national security team to resign.
“I cannot understand how the national security team can continue to abide by this and how Mike Pompeo and Bolton and John Kelly can continue in their jobs,” he said.
Following the revoking of his security clearance, Brennan tweeted on Wednesday: “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. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”
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. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich contended on Thursday’s “Outnumbered” that Trump was justified in revoking Brennan’s clearance.
She noted that character, trustworthiness, honesty, discretion and sound judgement are all qualities considered in deciding whether to grant or allow someone to retain a clearance, and Brennan has shown himself wanting in at least some of those areas.
Pavlich further argued that Trump’s decision is not an attack on Brennan’s freedom of speech, pointing to the former CIA director’s unfettered exercise thereof since the announcement.
“You are not entitled under the First Amendment to a security clearance,” she said.
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