Trump revokes security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director

Nellie Chapman
August 16, 2018

He called Mr. Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of the Helsinki summit last month "nothing short of treasonous".

The courtesy of allowing a former administration official to retain security clearance has been "outweighed by the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behaviour", Trump said in the statement.

"As the 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", Trump's statement read.

The Trump administration is also looking into revoking the clearances of a number of former officials, including former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and recently fired Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. "And it is an abuse of power for Trump to revoke clearances, unless he can prove misuse of classified information, which I don't think he can".

At least two of the former officials, Comey and McCabe, do not now have security clearances, and none of the eight receive intelligence briefings.

Brennan has frequently appeared on cable television news shows and sent out lashing tweets to attack Trump's foreign policy positions.

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The White House's announcement comes as it is looking to turn the page on a news cycle that for several days has been dominated by startling allegations leveled against Trump by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former senior White House official and longtime Trump adviser.

Former CIA Director John Brennan is sworn in before testifying at a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing in 2017.

The only official to lose his clearance Wednesday, former CIA Director John Brennan, had on Tuesday night criticized Trump on an MSNBC show and said that Trump was "dangerous to our nation".

Just hours before Trump issued the edict, the former Central Intelligence Agency chief had accused the Republican leader of failing "to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity". Brennan is an NBC News contributor.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen tweeted: "Trump is now categorizing dissent and free speech as 'erratic behavior'". "I will not relent", wrote Brennan. Trump said he tended to believe Putin's denials about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election despite the US intelligence community view that Moscow was to blame. Asked via email why the statement was initially dated July 26th but not released until mid-August, a White House official said "today is the date of the revocation". Unless there are facts regarding Hayden's behavior I'm unaware of, I would hate to see him lose his security clearance.

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