President Trump is reportedly considering revoking security clearances of multiple officials from intelligence and law enforcement agencies during the Obama Administration.
At a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders accused the officials of having “politicized” and “monetized” their public service, according to Fox News.
Sanders said the President is considering revoking the clearances “because [the former officials] politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service and their security clearances in making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia.”
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 23, 2018
She said the President is considering these consequences for the following officials: former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former CIA Director John Brennan, among other officials.
The security clearances provide “inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” Sanders said.
“When you have the highest level of security clearance … when you have the nation’s secrets at hand, and go out and make false [statements], the President feels that’s something to be very concerned with,” she added.
Sanders’ announcement came after Sen. Rand Paul called on President Trump to revoke the security clearance of Brennan. Paul met with President Trump on Monday to discuss the matter.
During an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Paul said Brennan “should not get anywhere within 10,000 yards of the government. He should have a restraining order.”
“John Brennan leaked information that almost cost the life of a double agent. … He should have been fired for that. But he wasn’t fired by President Obama because I think he was a partisan,” Paul said. “But now he’s a talking head on the outside, saying that basically President Trump should be executed – that’s what we do for treason. And so, yeah, I’m very concerned about him having privileges because of his past history.”
Paul said that he would also remove the top-secret security clearances of every retired CIA agent and officer.
Brennan recently became a contributor and analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He has used these platforms, along with Twitter, to harshly criticize the President.
Paul tweeted: “Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?”
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
McCabe’s spokesperson, Melissa Schwartz, said that McCabe’s security clearance was revoked when he was fired in accordance with FBI policies. A friend of James Comey, Benjamin Wittes, said that Comey no longer has a security clearance, either.
In some cases, security clearances may remain in “active” status after an official is separated from government service.