Aug 15, 2018 - Politics & Policy

What they're saying: Politicians fire back after Trump revokes Brennan's clearance

John Brennan. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan citing "erratic conduct and behavior" following criticism of the president by Brennan.

The bottom line: Trump's announcement has received substantial backlash from the intelligence community as well as politicians for revoking Brennan's clearance. Along with Brennan, Trump is also "evaluating action" regarding the current and former clearances of several other former intelligence and law enforcement officials — most of whom have been among his harshest critics. Many are split on the decision as some see the move as an effort to silence them, while others say Brennan shouldn't have been able to keep his clearance in the first place.

What they're saying

Former Vice President Joe Biden took to Twitter to defend Brennan, saying the former CIA director has "never been afraid to speak up and give it to you straight." Revoking his clearance won't change that, he added.

Former FBI Director James Comey, whose clearance the administration is also threatening to revoke, said Trump is "once again sending a message that he will punish people who disagree with him and reward those who praise him" in a statement via Twitter.

Former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin called Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance a way to "muzzle free speech" in an appearance on MSNBC and said he read through the directive and found no grounds for Brennan's clearance being revoked.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said Brennan's clearance being revoked "makes you less safe" and described Trump's move to revoke it as "petty" in a tweet.

Jamil Jaffer, a former Bush administration DOJ lawyer and National Security Institute founder, called Trump's actions "outrageous" and said just because a president can revoke a clearance "doesn't mean you should" because of the insights former officials can give.

The other side:

Reps. Lee Zeldin and Rick Saccone, however stood out among the former politicians defending the president's action.

Rep. Zeldin (R-NY) took to Twitter arguing, Brennan should have "never received the clearance in 1st place. Literally admitted to voting Communist Party for US President."

Rep. Saccone (R-PA) voiced his opinion tweeting, "officials retain clearance after leaving office as a COURTESY. Brennan has abused the courtesy. You're out!"

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