From left, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and CIA Director John Brennan arrive at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on world wide threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A few nights ago, Tucker Carlson asked why some former members of the Obama Administration, like John Brennan, still possess top-secret clearances. Earlier today, Rand Paul said he was going to ask President Trump to pull John Brennan’s security clearance. The question as to why he and other Obama officials still have clearances seems puzzling but the answer is pretty simple. Historically, outgoing and retiring officials are allowed to retain their previous security clearance because they a) may be called upon for advice by their successor or b) they may be working on a book or memoir and need the clearance to see their own official papers. Having the clearance, alone, doesn’t mean a whole lot. For a top secret clearance to be meaningfully different from a secret clearance you have to be “read into” a program and you are only “read in” if you have need to know and occupy a billet authorizing you to have that clearance.
But, in the case of some people, like John Brennan and James Clapper and James Comey, they have demonstrated they are not only “former officials” but they are focused on bringing down the administration. In particular, Brennan seems to be the source of a crapload of official leaks. They are able to do this because their official clearance gets them access to CIA/FBI/DNI headquarters in order to see stuff they are allowed to see or to meet with current officials to “consult” on issues that were also being handled by the previous administration. Entree to the building gives them contact with their catchfarts who are still on the payroll. It enables them to hear rumors, to hear about agency actions, and about discusses held at the upper reaches of the administration. These, in turn, translate in network paychecks.
Now the White House is looking at pulling the clearances of several former officials.
Just got out of WH meeting with @realDonaldTrump. I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 23, 2018
Press Sec. Sanders: "Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the security clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe…because they've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service." pic.twitter.com/E4P7pmWBUW
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 23, 2018
WH press sec Sanders says Trump is exploring how to remove security clearance for John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden, James Comey and Andrew McCabe – all of whom have been sharply critical of him.
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 23, 2018
NEW: President Trump wants to revoke the security clearance of:
John Brennan, former CIA Director
James Comey, former FBI Director
James Clapper, former DNI
Michael Hayden, former CIA Director
Susan Rice, former National Security Adviser
Andrew McCabe, former FBI Deputy Director
— David P Gelles (@gelles) July 23, 2018
Media: @PressSec announces that @realDonaldTrump may revoke security clearance of @Comey @GenMhayden James Clapper @AmbassadorRice @JohnBrennan and Andrew McCabe. | Clapper says it's "a petty way of retribution for speaking out against the president … out of genuine concern." pic.twitter.com/swDkdetcs7
— Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) July 23, 2018
Predictably, their clientele is going nuts.
Briefing room audibly gasped when @PressSec said POTUS is looking into pulling the security clearances of Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) July 23, 2018
Holy mother of god… he is going to revoke the clearances of Clapper, Brennan, and Comey? How?
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) July 23, 2018
.@presssec says Trump is exploring ways he might strip Brennan, Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe of their security clearances—an egregious abuse of power targeting perceived political enemies—and the White House press corps just moved on.
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) July 23, 2018
Security clearances are a valuable commodity. By making this threat, @realDonaldTrump is seeking to levy a financial penalty on @JohnBrennan and Clapper. There are also public policy reasons that former intel leaders remain cleared–so they can help their successors.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 23, 2018
And the Vichy Republicans:
For all their vitriol (which is protected free speech under the 1st Amendment) still I am speechless at @POTUS vindictiveness toward @Comey @JohnBrennan former @ODNIgov Clapper & former NSA Susan Rice https://t.co/6phTKKcSt2
— Frances Townsend (@FranTownsend) July 23, 2018
Trump will be accused of being petty and mean-spirited. This might very well be true–in fact, I think we can consider that a fact. That being said, he’s certainly under no moral, legal, or ethical obligation to let people continue to have access to classified information when their sole reason for needing it appears to be grinding political axes and pursuing self-enrichment.
h/t to Dave Reaboi for the title–sorry, dude, it was too good to not steal.
The Leak Club For Men https://t.co/m0E6BaQSoS
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) July 23, 2018
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