President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become a harsh critic of the president, and appeared to be targeting others who have disagreed with the administration.
“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said while briefing reporters on Wednesday.
In addition, she said, the administration is evaluating clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strozk, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Bruce Ohr, who is still in the Justice Department although he was demoted from associate deputy attorney general.
“More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended,” Sanders said.
The White House last month announced that it was looking into revoking security clearances for those individuals, with the exception of Yates, Strozk, Page and Ohr, whose names were added on Wednesday.
“Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked, and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated,” Sanders said.
Comey last month said he no longer had a security clearance, and Hayden also said on Twitter that he did not go back for classified briefings but would occasionally be asked to “offer a view on something.”
Conservatives have over the past couple of weeks pushed for Brennan’s security to be removed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in June said he spoke to the president about that very issue, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson also called for Brennan’s clearance to be removed after he reported he still had it.