Laura Ashley Powell
A former CIA Director from the Obama Administration has had his security clearance revoked by President Trump, who claims that the former director’s conduct as of late has been “erratic.”
John Brennan, the former CIA director, has openly criticized the president and called Trump’s insistence on there being no collusion “hogwash.” Trump has threatened to take away the security clearance of others who have criticized him as well.
Weeks ago, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Trump was considering taking this action towards Brennan and others who Trump believes have been abusing their access to sensitive information “to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations.”
Brennan is just the latest in a series of top officials who have received retaliation from the president as a result of criticizing him or being tied to the Russia investigation. Others who have met the same fate include James Comey, former FBI Director, Andrew McGabe, former FBI deputy director and Peter Strzok, former FBI counterintelligence agent.
“No president (at least as far as I am aware) has ever personally intervened in the clearance revocation (or approval) of an individual,” wrote Bradley Moss, a lawyer for a Washington D.C. Law Office.
“That has never happened before because past presidents—whatever their flaws or scandals—knew there were certain institutional norms and customs that a president simply should not disturb.”
While Moss explained that Trump is allowed by the constitution to revoke the security clearance of an individual without due process, he says that there is no precedent for such an action as it has never been done before. Going through due process is simply considered a norm.
When Brennan learned of his security clearance being taken away, he quickly responded via Twitter.
“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics…” tweeted Brennan. “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.”
Some of Brennan’s accusations against the president have been against Trump’s friendliness with Russian president Vladimir Putin instead of condemning the Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Brennan called “treasonous”. He also criticized Trump for his uncouth language in his Twitter posts.
“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,” tweeted Brennan.
Trump has threatened to take away the security clearance of others who have clashed with him, including Michael V. Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency and former C.I.A. director under the Bush administration, Susan Rice, a former national security adviser under the Obama administration and James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence under the Obama administration.
Others who have already lost their security clearance, like Comey, could lose their ability to regain it.
The president claimed that he is not targeting any political party, but those he deems to be “incompetent or crazy.”