Tiger Beat tells us sumpin’ new about our petty tyrant:
“President Donald Trump is considering revoking security clearances from ex-officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.”
“The president is exploring these mechanisms to remove their security clearance because they’ve politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service security clearances, and making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influences by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. The president contends that the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”
Axios email alert thingie tells us that the list includes:
- John Brennan, the former CIA director who accused Trump of treason
- James Comey, the former FBI director who wrote a bestseller chronicling Trump’s sins — and who doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke, per Benjamin Wittes
- James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
- Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor
- Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor
- Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Deputy Director whose clearance was deacivated when he was fired, according to his spokesperson
We can argue that as these people are no longer holding office, well, they shouldn’t have security clearances anyway, BUT the problem is really that they already know so much and one cannot wipe their memories clean (except in really bad science fiction); the other problem is that you know who they consult with is the federal government in times of crisis, and so stripping them of their clearances is actually creating a national security problem.
All of this is of course just petty retribution, and of course is entirely political.
Clapper on CNN: “For political reasons, this is a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out … [with] genuine concerns about President Trump.”
Hayden to CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I [don’t] go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write”.
But there is a financial penalty being extracted here: as many of these people “consult” it would likely lower their ability to earn an income.
The other penalty, the one that all of us should be aware of, is that this is likely to stop future critics of the Russian Usurper from coming forward with informed criticism.
UPDATE 1: Tiger Beat tells us…
NICK SHAPIRO, the former deputy chief of staff at the CIA, emails this about PRESIDENT TRUMP’S threat to take away security clearances from his former boss John Brennan: “To be clear: Former Deputy and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell perfectly lays out exactly why all former DCIA’s leave with their clearance here (Morell’s tweet) and so you know, John Brennan hasn’t made one penny off of his clearance. Not one thing he has done for remuneration since leaving the government has been contingent on him having a security clearance.
“One doesn’t need a security clearance to speak out against the failings of Trump. This is a political attack on career national security officials who have honorably served their country for decades under both Repubs & Dems in an effort to distract from Mueller’s investigation.”
— @benjaminwittes: “I just texted @Comey asking whether he even has a security clearance to revoke. ‘Nope,’ he responded. There’s nothing for POTUS to revoke. Comey says he was ‘read out’ when he left government as per normal practice. … 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.”