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White House Considers Revoking Clearances of 6 Former Top National Security Officials

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during today’s daily briefing that the administration is considering the security clearances of former national security officials who have also been critical of the president.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) began the day by tweeting, “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!” Paul continued.

Seven hours later, the senator tweeted, “Just got out of WH meeting with @realDonaldTrump. I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked. Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees.”

Sanders was asked about the conversation, and whether President Trump is considering the request to target Brennan.

“Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice and McCabe. The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they politicize and in some cases monetize their public service and security clearances,” she replied.

“Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate, and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” Sanders added.

Former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe no longer have active security clearance.

Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, tweeted that he texted Comey to ask about his clearance, and Comey confirmed he didn’t have one. “There’s nothing for POTUS to revoke. Comey says he was ‘read out’ when he left government as per normal practice,” Wittes said. “He even recently declined a temporary clearance from the IG to read the classified annex to the IG’s recent report. He didn’t want to see any classified material lest the president accuse him of leaking it.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden tweeted, “I dont go back for classified briefings (although they occasionally ask me in to offer a view on something). Won’t have any impact on what I say or write.”

Brennan’s last tweet was on July 16: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Former top intelligence officials retain clearances to consult in a classified setting with their successors.

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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