New outcry over Trump's revocation of Brennan security clearance

Lamar Ellis
August 22, 2018

Appearing on "Meet the Press", Brennan blasted the move as an example of Trump's "egregious abuse of power and authority".

"I've seen the lights blinking red in terms of what Mr. Trump done and is doing, and is bringing the country down on the global stage", he said.

Trump on Wednesday openly tied his decision to strip Brennan of his clearance - and threaten almost a dozen other former and current officials - to the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

Brennan, who has publicly characterized Trump's comments at a recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "treasonous", has said he might sue the Trump administration over the revocation of his clearance.

If Brennan does go to court, the legal case could drag on for years, and the former spy chief could face an uphill battle.

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Several million Americans, including current government workers, civilian contractors and former officials, have security clearances.

According to CBS, signatories of the first letter include former Directors of Central Intelligence Robert Gates, William Webster, George Tenet, and Porter Goss; former CIA Directors Gen. Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and Gen. David Petraeus; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and former deputy CIA directors John McLaughlin, Stephen Kappes, Avril Haines, David Cohen, and Michael Morell.

Following the president's announcement, almost 200 former officials stood in solidarity to denounce the revocation of security clearances, with more than a dozen top members of the intelligence community accusing Mr. Trump of using the move as a strategy to snuff out dissent. On Friday, 60 former senior Central Intelligence Agency officials added their names.

They said they did not necessarily concur with all the opinions expressed by Brennan, or the way in which he expressed them. Trump cited "risks" posed by Brennan's alleged "erratic conduct and behaviour" in revoking his security clearance.

The White House has not provided any evidence that suggests Brennan leveraged his security clearance for personal financial gain. But they noted the power play also could be used to reinforce a case alleging obstruction of justice, following the president's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his repeated tweets calling for the investigation to end.

The latest statement is signed by career national security officials as well as political appointees from both parties.

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