BREAKING NEWS Court rules 1st federal execution in 17 years can proceed Full Story

Trump revokes ex-CIA director John Brennan's security clearance

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has revoked ...

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 1:43 PM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 1:43 PM

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has revoked former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president's authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics.

"I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information, including by controlling access to it. Today, in fulfilling that responsibility, I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency," Trump said in a statement dictated in the White House briefing room by his press secretary Sarah Sanders. "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."

Central Intelligence Agency

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Government organizations - US

Intelligence services

International relations and national security

John Brennan

National security

Political Figures - US

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US government independent agencies

US intelligence agencies

White House

National Security Agency

Michael Hayden

Brennan is the first former national security official to see his security clearance revoked since the White House announced last month that Trump was considering taking that action against several of his most vocal critics in the national security world.

"This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent," Brennan tweeted after the announcement.

The decision comes as the White House is looking to turn the page on a news cycle that for several days has been dominated by startling allegations leveled against Trump by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former senior White House official and longtime Trump adviser.

The White House provided no evidence that Brennan has misused his security clearance since leaving government.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the top Trump-appointed intelligence official, was not consulted on revoking Brennan's clearance, an official with knowledge of the matter told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

While Brennan has been a vocal critic of the President since Trump took office -- calling him unfit to serve -- he is well-regarded by both Republicans and Democrats as a seasoned national security expert.

Before serving as homeland security adviser and later CIA Director under President Barack Obama, Brennan served as the inaugural director of the National Counterterrorism Center under President George W. Bush. Prior to that, Brennan served for more than two decades as a career CIA official.

Trump said in a statement Wednesday he is still considering revoking the security clearances of several others: former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director and National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department official.

The names amount to an unofficial enemies list for this White House. All of those individuals have been the target of Trump's public ire or criticized Trump -- or both.

Despite that, Sanders insisted on Wednesday that Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's clearance and put other critics on notice is not politically motivated.

"The President has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it, and that's what he's doing is fulfilling that responsibility in this action," Sanders said.

She declined to say why the list included no supporters of the President, such as Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Trump's statement was dated July 26 -- three days after the White House first said the President was considering the move -- in an initial version released by the White House. A White House aide blamed the date on a cut and paste error.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Trump said he had wanted to announce the decision last week but his schedule was too "hectic." The President spent most of the last week on a working vacation at his property in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Trump answered critics who say his only targets are people who served in Democratic administrations, telling the Journal he would fire a Republican too, "if I thought they were incompetent or crazy."

Trump in his statement justified the move against Brennan by citing the CIA's infiltration of Senate computers during Brennan's time at the helm of the agency during the Obama administration -- for which Brennan subsequently issued a public apology -- and maintained Brennan has "recently leveraged his status" as a former official to "make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations" about the administration, which Trump called "increasingly frenzied commentary."

"Such access is particularly inappropriate when such officials have transitioned into highly partisan positions and seek to use real or perceived access to sensitive information to validate their political attacks," Sanders said, reading from Trump's statement.

There is no evidence that Brennan has leveraged classified information or even his access to classified information to bolster his criticism of Trump.

Top national security officials typically retain their security clearances after leaving government as a professional courtesy and so they can be brought in by current officials to consult on national security issues.

"Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan's continued access to classified information," Trump said in his statement Wednesday.

Officials at risk of seeing their security clearances revoked expressed concern about Trump using his presidential authority to strike back at critics but said revoking their security clearances would have little impact on them.

Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said he has not accessed classified information since leaving his position in January 2017.

"Will the republic stand or fall on whether John (Brennan) retains his access to classified information? Of course not. The larger issue here, to me, throughout has been infringement on First Amendment rights and I think people ought to think seriously about that," Clapper said on CNN.

Hayden, the former CIA and National Security Agency chief, said losing his clearance would "have a marginal impact on the work I do."

"With regard to the implied threat today that I could lose my clearance, that will have no impact on what I think, say or write," Hayden said.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Hayden warned that the revocation amounts to a threat from the administration.

"The White House just messaged the entire American intelligence community: If you stand up and say things that upset the President or with which he disagrees, he will punish you," Hayden said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"That is a horrible message to be sending to folks who are there to tell you objective truth," he said.

Terre Haute
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 73°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Rockville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Brazil
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Marshall
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
Low chance of storms tonight with clearing conditions
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Sunday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Ryan Lieberman

Image

Zoe Stewart

Image

WVFCA Friday Night Lights

Image

Tim Hayes

Image

Keeping your house cooler without running the A.C. all day

Image

Several local groups partner to help you learn new job skills

Image

Duke Energy says scammers have a new tactic to steal your information, and it involves refund checks

Image

Richland County sees an increase in young people contracting COVID-19

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 154094

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook951384711
Lake10318428
DuPage9641485
Kane8078281
Will7223325
Winnebago3156105
St. Clair2265144
McHenry2248102
Kankakee141466
Unassigned1180201
Rock Island116930
Madison116770
Kendall104823
Champaign103817
Peoria64430
DeKalb63720
Boone63521
Sangamon51933
Jackson35119
McLean31515
Randolph3107
Ogle2964
Stephenson2836
LaSalle25417
Macon25022
Clinton24717
Whiteside20915
Union20519
Grundy1935
Coles19017
Iroquois1755
Tazewell1728
Knox1680
Adams1671
Monroe15513
Williamson1554
Warren1490
Cass1388
Morgan1343
Jefferson11417
Henry1111
McDonough10615
Lee1052
Vermilion892
Pulaski840
Marion770
Montgomery731
Macoupin673
Douglas610
Perry611
Jo Daviess541
Livingston542
Christian504
Jasper477
Woodford462
Franklin450
Ford421
Clark400
Jersey401
Bureau372
Menard310
Effingham301
Cumberland290
Mercer290
Johnson270
Washington250
Alexander240
Fayette243
Mason240
Moultrie240
Wabash230
Piatt210
Bond201
Carroll202
Crawford200
Hancock201
Logan200
Shelby201
Edgar190
De Witt180
Wayne181
Fulton160
Massac160
Saline160
Schuyler130
Lawrence120
Marshall120
Brown100
White100
Richland90
Greene80
Henderson80
Hamilton70
Gallatin60
Pike60
Stark60
Clay50
Edwards50
Hardin20
Calhoun10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193