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Intel officials react to Trump’s security clearance revocation threat

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James Clapper
Former
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday said it
would be “a very, very petty thing to do” if President Donald
Trump revokes his security clearance for being critical of
him.

Jim
Bourg/Reuters


  • The White House on Monday said President Donald Trump
    was considering revoking the security clearances of former top
    officials who’ve been critical of him.
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
    said this would be a “very, very petty thing to do.”
  • Former top officials often maintain security clearances
    in case they need to be consulted on various matters pertaining
    to national security. 

The White House on Monday said President Donald Trump was
considering revoking the security clearances of former top
officials who’ve been critical of him, prompting reactions from
some of the ex-intelligence officials who were singled out. 

The officials are former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael
Hayden, former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John
Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,
former US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and former
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Former top officials often maintain security clearance in case
they need to be consulted on various matters pertaining to
national security.

After the news broke via Monday’s press briefing with White House
press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Clapper appeared on CNN
and said if Trump followed through with the threat it would be

“a very, very petty thing to do.”

“If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that’s a
terrible precedent, and it’s a very sad commentary, and it’s an
abuse of the system,” Clapper added. 

Hayden seemed to be less unsettled by the revelation, tweeting
that he doesn’t go back for classified briefings and such a move
won’t “have any effect on what I say or write.”

Sanders said Trump was “exploring” this idea because of “baseless
allegations” made about the president by these former
officials. 

The White House press secretary specifically cited recent
comments made by Brennan after Trump’s controversial summit with
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland last
Monday. 

After Trump appeared to side with Putin over the US intelligence
community regarding the subject of the Kremlin’s interference in
the 2016 US presidential election, Brennan said the president was
guilty of
“treasonous”
behavior. 

Trump later claimed he “misspoke” during the meeting, and Sanders
on Monday claimed the president stands by the intelligence
community’s assessment on Russian election interference, which
explicitly states the operation was directed by Putin. 

But the president on Sunday took to Twitter and seemed to suggest
Russian election interference was “all a big hoax.” When
questioned about this Monday, Sanders claimed the president was
referring to the allegations his campaign colluded with Russia in
its efforts to interfere in the US electoral system. 

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