Former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance has been revoked. Sarah Huckabee Sanders led off her press briefing on August 15, 2018, by reading a note from President Trump announcing the revocation.
Trump’s statement included the reasons why Mr. Brennan’s clearance was revoked, including that he is unlikely to add value to the present administration’s need for intelligence and analysis, a common reason for accommodating clearance for those who have left government service. Trump went on to cite Brennan’s words and actions in recent media appearances in partial justification:
Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this 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.
Then Sanders read a list of names: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr. Those persons were placed on notice that their clearances might be revoked or non-renewed.
Sanders telegraphed the move last month, then stating, “[t]he president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearances because they politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances.” The New York Times had mentioned that “[t]wo of the targets Ms. Sanders cited, James B. Comey, who was fired by Mr. Trump as F.B.I. director in 2017, and Andrew G. McCabe, who was dismissed in March as deputy director of the F.B.I., no longer have security clearances.” It’s unclear why they were included in Sanders’ reading.
Trump reportedly got the idea for the revocations from Senator Rand Paul, (R, KY). Brennan, a 25-year CIA man, was confirmed by Senate to lead that agency over an unsuccessful filibuster attempt by Senator Paul.
Lies Upon Lies
Brennan famously lied to Congress about spying on them, when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) revealed his CIA had spied on Congressional investigators who were examining CIA interrogation techniques. In 2011, Brennan lied about civilian casualties and U.S. drone attacks. The claim was seen as so patently false, that as the Washington Post put it, “either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf.”
Did Brennan then become part of a group organized to frustrate Donald Trump’s candidacy? The Daily Caller reports:
“According to “Russian Roulette,” by Yahoo! News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of the left-wing Mother Jones magazine, Brennan contacted Reid on Aug. 25, 2016, to brief him on the state of Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign. Brennan briefed other members of the so-called Gang of Eight, but Reid is the only who took direct action.
Two days after the briefing, Reid wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey asserting that “evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount.”
Security clearances, their issuance, revocations, and standards regarding same, are solely Executive functions, allowing President Trump to act unilaterally on them