“I’ve a singular constitutional accountability to guard the nation’s categorized data, together with by controlling entry to it. Right now, in fulfilling that accountability, I’ve determined to revoke the safety clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Company,” Trump stated in a press release dictated within the White Home briefing room by his press secretary Sarah Sanders. “Mr. Brennan’s mendacity and up to date conduct characterised by more and more frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with entry to the nation’s most intently held secrets and techniques.”
Brennan is the primary former nationwide safety official to see his safety clearance revoked for the reason that White Home introduced final month that Trump was contemplating taking that motion in opposition to a number of of his most vocal critics within the nationwide safety world.
“This motion is a part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It ought to gravely fear all Individuals, together with intelligence professionals, about the price of talking out. My ideas are value excess of clearances. I cannot relent,” Brennan tweeted after the announcement.
The choice comes because the White Home is trying to flip the web page on a information cycle that for a number of days has been dominated by startling allegations leveled in opposition to Trump by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former senior White Home official and longtime Trump adviser.
The White Home supplied no proof that Brennan has misused his safety clearance since leaving authorities.
Director of Nationwide Intelligence Dan Coats, the highest Trump-appointed intelligence official, was not consulted on revoking Brennan’s clearance, an official with information of the matter informed CNN’s Jim Sciutto.
Whereas Brennan has been a vocal critic of the President since Trump took workplace — calling him unfit to serve — he’s well-regarded by each Republicans and Democrats as a seasoned nationwide safety professional.
Earlier than serving as homeland safety adviser and later CIA Director underneath President Barack Obama, Brennan served because the inaugural director of the Nationwide Counterterrorism Middle underneath President George W. Bush. Previous to that, Brennan served for greater than 20 years as a profession CIA official.
Trump stated in a press release Wednesday he’s nonetheless contemplating revoking the safety clearances of a number of others: former Director of Nationwide Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director and Nationwide Safety Company chief Michael Hayden, former deputy legal professional normal Sally Yates, former nationwide safety adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI officers Lisa Web page and Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr, a present Justice Division official.
The names quantity to an unofficial enemies listing for this White Home. All of these people have been the goal of Trump’s public ire or criticized Trump — or each.
Regardless of that, Sanders insisted on Wednesday that Trump’s choice to revoke Brennan’s clearance and put different critics on discover just isn’t politically motivated.
“The President has a constitutional accountability to guard categorized data and who has entry to it, and that is what he is doing is fulfilling that accountability on this motion,” Sanders stated.
She declined to say why the listing included no supporters of the President, equivalent to Trump’s former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded responsible to mendacity to the FBI.
Trump’s assertion was dated July 26 — three days after the White Home first stated the President was contemplating the transfer — in an preliminary model launched by the White Home. A White Home aide blamed the date on a lower and paste error.
Trump answered critics who say his solely targets are individuals who served in Democratic administrations, telling the Journal he would hearth a Republican too, “if I believed they have been incompetent or loopy.”
Trump in his assertion justified the transfer in opposition to Brennan by citing the CIA’s infiltration of Senate computer systems throughout Brennan’s time on the helm of the company through the Obama administration — for which Brennan subsequently issued a public apology — and maintained Brennan has “lately leveraged his standing” as a former official to “make a collection of unfounded and outrageous allegations” concerning the administration, which Trump referred to as “more and more frenzied commentary.”
“Such entry is especially inappropriate when such officers have transitioned into extremely partisan positions and search to make use of actual or perceived entry to delicate data to validate their political assaults,” Sanders stated, studying from Trump’s assertion.
There isn’t a proof that Brennan has leveraged categorized data and even his entry to categorized data to bolster his criticism of Trump.
High nationwide safety officers sometimes retain their safety clearances after leaving authorities as an expert courtesy and to allow them to be introduced in by present officers to seek the advice of on nationwide safety points.
“Neither of those justifications helps Mr. Brennan’s continued entry to categorized data,” Trump stated in his assertion Wednesday.
Officers prone to seeing their safety clearances revoked expressed concern about Trump utilizing his presidential authority to strike again at critics however stated revoking their safety clearances would have little affect on them.
Clapper, the previous director of nationwide intelligence, stated he has not accessed categorized data since leaving his place in January 2017.
“Will the republic stand or fall on whether or not John (Brennan) retains his entry to categorized data? After all not. The bigger concern right here, to me, all through has been infringement on First Modification rights and I feel folks should assume critically about that,” Clapper stated on CNN.
Hayden, the previous CIA and Nationwide Safety Company chief, stated shedding his clearance would “have a marginal affect on the work I do.”
“With regard to the implied menace immediately that I may lose my clearance, that may don’t have any affect on what I feel, say or write,” Hayden stated.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Hayden warned that the revocation quantities to a menace from the administration.
“The White Home simply messaged your entire American intelligence neighborhood: For those who rise up and say issues that upset the President or with which he disagrees, he’ll punish you,” Hayden stated on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“That may be a horrible message to be sending to of us who’re there to let you know goal fact,” he stated.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Clare Foran contributed to this report.