Even Swamp Monster Clapper Thinks Brennan Went Too Far
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper threw fellow Obama administration alum John Brennan under the bus on Sunday, saying the former CIA director’s rhetoric toward President Donald Trump has become “an issue in of itself.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked Clapper, “Do you think that John Brennan’s hyperbole is an issue here, is one of the reasons we’re having this crisis?”
“I think John is subtle like a freight train, and he’s going to say what’s on his mind,” Clapper answered. “I think, though, that the common denominator among all of us that have been speaking up, though, is genuine concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values, and although we may express that in different ways. And I think that’s what this really is about.”
“But John and his rhetoric have become, I think, an issue in and of itself,” Clapper added.
Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, agrees that Brennan’s talk has become too harsh.
“John (Brennan is) an extraordinary servant of the country, but I think he has been incredibly critical of the president and that has put him in a political place which actually does more damage for the intelligence community, which is apolitical,” Mullen said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I really don’t support him being as critical of the president as he has been.”
Adm. Mike Mullen: "John [Brennan is] an extraordinary servant of the country, but I think he has been incredibly critical of @POTUS….that has put him in a political place which actually does more damage for the intelligence community, which is apolitical." #FoxNewsSunday pic.twitter.com/XZWWL8OHpV
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 19, 2018
Nonetheless, neither man agreed with Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.
Clapper was among over a dozen senior intelligence officials who signed on to a statement opposing the president’s move.
“We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” they stated.
The former officials — who include CIA directors stretching back to the Reagan administration — concede that Brennan has spoken out “sharply” against the Trump administration, but they argue he should have the right to do so without having his security clearance yanked.
“We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against former officials has nothing to do with who should hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.”
They continued, “You don’t have to agree with what Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information.”
In a Twitter post 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” — the bar the Constitution sets for a presidential impeachment.
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
In other words, Brennan was arguing that the president should be impeached.
The former CIA director — who was hired by MSNBC/NBC News in February as a military and intelligence analyst — also attacked the commander in chief on air, repeating his allegations that Trump had committed treason and calling for members of Trump’s national security team to resign in protest.
“I cannot understand how the national security team can continue to abide by this and how Mike Pompeo and (John) Bolton and John Kelly can continue in their jobs,” Brennan said.
The White House announced the security clearance revocation last week, explaining in a written statement by Trump, “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 facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.”
On Friday, Trump countered the notion that he is in any way stifling Brennan’s right to free speech by pulling his security clearance.
“If anything, I’m giving him a bigger voice,”Trump said. “Many people don’t even know who he is and now he has a bigger voice and that’s okay with me, because I like taking on voices like that.”
President Trump says he has gotten "a tremendous response" for revoking former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, adding that he's "never respected him" pic.twitter.com/G5HsfZoiEU
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 17, 2018
Brennan stated on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC that he is considering bringing a lawsuit against Trump for taking away his security clearance.
Trump’s response via Twitter on Monday: Bring it on!
I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit. It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
In another Twitter post, Trump said that a reason so many former officials have been coming forward to criticize Brennan’s loss of his clearance is because of the prestige and money involved.
“Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan. It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did! He is a political ‘hack.’”
Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan. It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did! He is a political “hack.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
Brennan admitted losing the security clearance would mean he was no longer eligible for corporate board positions with defense contractors and other related industries that require the clearance, but said that’s a price he is willing to pay to speak his mind.
If nothing else, all this back and forth between Trump and the former CIA director is proving the president’s point that the First Amendment is alive and well.
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