The White House announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump has revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
In a statement read by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Trump said, “As the head of the executive branch and commander-in-chief, I have the 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.”
The president went on to explain certain high-ranking previous officials retain their security clearance after leaving office so current officials can consult with them on matters where they might have special insight, and as a professional courtesy.
“Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information,” Trump declared.
“First, at this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” he said.
“Second, the conduct and behavior far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due him.”
In a Twitter post last month, Brennan — who served as CIA director under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017 — 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.”
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, the Obama administration CIA director was saying Trump should be impeached.
In the full statement, available here via Fox News, Trump also cited times when Brennan publicly lied about the activities of the country’s main intelligence service.
“Mr. Brennan has a history that calls in to question his objectivity and credibility. In 2014, for example, he denied to Congress that CIA officials under his supervision had improperly accessed the computer files of congressional staffers. He told the Council on Foreign Relations that the CIA would never do such a thing. The CIA’s Inspector General however contradicted Mr. Brennan directly, concluding unequivocally that agency officials had indeed improperly accessed congressional staffers files. More recently, Mr. Brennan told Congress that the intelligence community did not make use of the so-called Steele dossier in an assessment regarding the 2016 election, an assertion contradicted by at least two other senior officials in the intelligence community, and all of the facts.
“Additionally, 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. 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.
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 step down.
“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.
Brennan took shots at Trump this week via Twitter.
“It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity,” he wrote on Tuesday
“Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation.”
It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation. https://t.co/eI9HaCec1m
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 14, 2018
Brennan’s sentiments were in response to Trump tweeting he was glad that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Last month, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul urged Trump to pull Brennan’s security clearance, arguing that the Obama administration official is monetizing his status.
Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 23, 2018
In a speech from the Senate floor, Paul said, “My goodness, we now have the former head of the CIA, John Brennan, galavanting across TV, now being paid for his opinion, to call the president treasonous.”
“This is crazy partisanship that is driving this.”
In addition to Brennan, according to The Hill, Sanders announced that Trump is reviewing security clearances for former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Administration Director Michael Hayden, and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, among others.
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