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Trump strips fmr. CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance

John Brennan, then-Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, delivers a briefing to President Barack Obama. May 3, 2010. (Pete Souza/White House)
August 15, 2018

A report on Wednesday revealed that a former Obama Administration official will be losing his security clearance.

While reading a statement from the President, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced President Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, Reuters reported Wednesday.

In the statement, the President accused Brennan of abusing his position and knowledge of classified information to “sow division and chaos” regarding the Trump Administration.

The President also mentioned Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior” including “lying” and “wild outbursts,” the Associated Press reported.

The statement began:

As head of the executive branch and commander-in-chief, I have a 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.

Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy.

Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.

First, at this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.

Second, that conduct and behavior has tested and far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due to him. Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility.

Brennan has been a widely-known critic of President Trump. He became a contributor and analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and has used these platforms along with Twitter to harshly criticize the President.

Sen. Rand Paul has been a vocal critic of Brennan, who he claims should have a “restraining order” against him over misconduct and divulging government secrets.

“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 told Fox News’ Martha McCallum.

“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 added.

Brennan also called President Trump “nothing short of treasonous” after press conference remarks following the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last month, Sanders said President Trump was looking into removing security clearances from several major Obama administration officials who he believed to be misusing their positions and access to information for profit.

At the time, Sanders said the President was considering the decision “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.”

Brennan was one of the names mentioned under consideration at the time, along with: former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

Comey and McCabe are two officials that reportedly do not have an active security clearance, however.

“I’ve exercised my constitutional authority to deny Mr. Brennan access to classified information, and I will direct appropriate staff of the National Security Council to make the necessary arrangements with the appropriate agencies to implement this determination,” Wednesday’s statement closed.

Sanders said the security clearances of other officials are currently “under review.”