Trump Revokes Former DCI John Brennan’s Security Clearnace


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Along with all the firings of FBI officials who have angered and investigated Trump this is just another instance of attacking/hurting critics. Yeah this is petty and personal but its also an attempt to give consequences to people who criticize him.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    It’s all part of a long con. From the Washington Examiner, July 22:

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said on Sunday that his committee will seek testimony from John Brennan, a CIA director under former President Barack Obama who has become a fierce critic of President Trump.

    “We have lots of questions for John Brennan and he will definitely be sought by the committees for an interview,” Goodlatte said during a Fox News interview on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo. “This is an extremely disturbing thing to see both he and [former FBI] James Comey, supposedly impartial government officials carrying out their jobs in very important areas in intelligence gathering and law enforcement, express the kind of extreme bias that they’ve shown now, which I think reflects quite accurately on what they were doing back in 2016.”

    Of course, the theory that the Deep State had it in for Trump during the campaign relies on demonstrable incompetence on the part of the actors who kept inadvertently suppressing all the dirt on Trump they “fabricated” at the timeReport

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      From the Wall St Journal today:

      In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited Mr. Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation, which also is looking into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Russia has denied interfering.

      Mr. Brennan was director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Democratic administration of former President Obama and one of those who presented evidence to Mr. Trump shortly before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.

      “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”

      He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

      He’s marginalizing everyone who was around during the origins of the investigation – Comey, Yates, McCabe – and revoking security clearances held by people who left after the inauguration. This is Banana Republic stuff. The GOP Congress is along for the ride.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon says:

        It won’t hurt Brennan or most of the retirees being threatened, but it will have a chilling effect on everyone still working in the IC community.

        This basically implies that if someone angers Trump, by say cooperating with Mueller’s investigation (a DOJ investigation that they are obligated to cooperate with btw), they could find themselves without a job because Trump has revoked their security clearance.

        We are way down the road to Banana Republic here.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          I don’t know that it won’t hurt Brennan either. National security experts often end up going into private industry and continuing to work in the natsec field. In fact, Brennan worked for exactly those types of companies in the years before Obama brought him back to government work. Making him unable to maintain a security clearance pretty much blacklists him from most of his chosen field. Maybe he was planning to retire completely? I don’t know what he’s been up to since leaving government service.

          I also don’t get the idea that pulling someone’s security clearance to punish them for protected speech isn’t silencing. If they’d taken his house or thrown him in prison, we wouldn’t be saying, “Well, he can still speak out, so it’s not silencing.” The government taking adverse action against someone solely to punish them for protected speech is pretty obviously a free speech issue.Report

          • Avatar George Turner says:

            So the First Amendment protects someone’s right to receive classified national security briefings? I’ll file a lawsuit tomorrow because I haven’t been getting those.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              The problem is that at the bottom level of political appointees, and the top level of career staff, it has been typical for the person moving into the position to be able to consult with his/her predecessor. By stripping the predecessor’s clearance quickly, Trump blocks such consultation and a big chunk of institutional memory is lost. Even at the level of government where I was staff, loss of institutional memory was a big deal. Within the intelligence community, where security classifications mean there’s no chance to “groom” a replacement before hand, such losses must be an even bigger deal.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

              No. There’s no first amendment right to have any of the things you legitimately have, but there is a first amendment right not to have those things taken from you for protected political speech.

              If he’d had a nice house and the government used eminent domain to take it from him and then did nothing with it, it would be pretty obvious that that was punishment for his protected speech. You wouldn’t say, “There’s a first amendment right to a nice house? I don’t have one of those, so I should sue the government to give me a house!” because that would be dumb.

              I guess people are carving out a weird exception for this one form of punishment for speech because working in national security isn’t part of their normal experience and they don’t get how this stuff works?Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Have you talked to people who hold security clearances in the military? They are not allowed to pop up on CNN to scream that the President is a traitor, while using their access to classified information to do harm to the United States. In fact, they would likely get discharged or sent to Leavenworth for that.

                Retaining a security clearance after leaving government service is contingent on behavior. If an individual’s trustworthiness is in doubt, the clearance is often revoked. We didn’t set up a government to serve the business interests of retired government officials, no matter how much those retirees wish we had.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                while using their access to classified information to do harm to the United States.

                wait, are you admitting the existence of classified info about Trump which, if revealed, would do harm to his Presidency?

                Welcome to the Resistance, comrade.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Active duty military are not allowed to pop up on CNN to scream the President is a traitor for reasons that have nothing to do with the regs on security clearances.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Hell, when Wikileaks published all that classified info a while back a lot of defense contractors blocked that website because viewing classified info (even if it’s made public it’s STILL classified, could jeopardize folks who had clearances.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Who’s writting up Kelly for his Practices Dangerous to Security (PDS) incident?Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                As @kolohe pointed out, that’s because they’re in the military, not because they have security clearances. If Brennan was active duty military, I’d have been stunned if Trump hadn’t canned him for talking like that. It would be completely unacceptable. But he’s not.

                Retaining a security clearance after leaving government service is contingent on behavior.

                I’m very well aware. But “don’t publicly criticize POTUS” is not one of those rules. The country is full of private citizens who work in national security. They’re not in the military and they don’t report to the executive, and they get to keep their jobs as long as they remain loyal to the US and follow the rules. Blacklisting them if they oppose the president is not OK. It’s not even a good idea if it was OK.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          We’re recovering from the banana republic part. That’s what we had under Obama when the heads of various state security agencies took action to try and select who we could have as President, that of course being the person who would let them continue to wield and abuse the powers of state security agencies. Brennan himself spied on the legislative committee that was responsible for looking into CIA abuses.

          All this misbehavior flowed from their arrogance, narcissism, and lack of self-understanding. In just about every East-Bloc country, banana Republic, and tin-pot dictatorship, the people entrusted to run “state security” start to think their job is protecting the government from the will of the people by destroying any politician or person who disapproves of their political power. They’re righteously and zealously protecting the state, and Brennan and Comey are not a bit different, having fallen into the same self-delusion that they are some kind of specially annointed protector who get to choose who allowed to be in charge.

          A bigger question is how Brennan, who voted for the American Communist Party candidate, ever had a security clearance at all. That’s a bigger red flag than having been a Nazi party member. Heck, after the war we got along very well with many Nazi party members, such as Werner von Braun, and we paid Germany’s top interrogator of captured Americans to teach the DoD how to conduct effective interrogations.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Its astounding to me how swiftly and completely the right has adopted the talking points of the Chomsky/ Zinn leftists of the 1970s.

            The rant above could be spliced into a speech by a college radical from 1975 and no one could tell the difference.

            And notice we never heard any of this Deep State stuff prior to January 2017. In 2001-2016 we were told by Fox News that patriotism required us to entrust the government with the power to torture suspected terrorists, that we should truest the intelligence agencies to snatch American citizens from anywhere in the world and hold them in Gitmo without charge or trial.

            Yet suddenly in January 2017, these same agencies morphed into something called the Deep State, a term which was almost unknown here in America.

            But now of course, we have always been at war with the Deep State.Report

          • Avatar bookdragon says:

            No, sorry. When the government or its executive is allowed to use its power to silence critics, that is a violation of the 1st Amendment. You know, part of the Constitution, which those who work for the government, including in security agencies, have sworn to uphold. Of course, Trump also swore to uphold it at his inauguration. If he’s discarding such a fundamental principle (with the approval of his base, it seems) why should we expect him to hold to any others?

            If the president becomes a de facto dictator, allowed to disregard the principles the country was founded upon, then we are down banana republic road.

            Also, Brennan voted for a communist party candidate? Um, I’m not a big of Brennan’s but I know a red herring when I see one. There is a rest of the story, which easily checkable.

            But I’m curious now to see what the talking points will be against all of the others whose clearances Trump is threatening to revoke. As well as against retired Adm. McRaven (former member of SEAL Team 6, the former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command who planned and oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, and the former Commanding Admiral of US Special Operations Command) who recently spoke out against Trump’s use of power to intimidate and silence critics, and retired 4 Star General McCaffery who agreed with him.Report