Trump revokes Brennan's security clearance


Former Army brigadier general Anthony Tata says Donald Trump's revocation of John Brennan's security clearance is totally justified because of the former Central Intelligence Agency director's conduct and opposition to the president.

It was an angry Paul who last month called for Brennan's clearance to be yanked, after Brennan called Trump's appearance at a news conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin "nothing short of treasonous".

The civilian foreign intelligence service's former chief's new status was announced on Wednesday by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders as she read out Trump's statement that cited Brennan's "erratic conduct and behaviour".

Mr Brennan claimed on Twitter after Ms Sanders's announcement that Mr Trump sought to "suppress freedom of speech and punish critics". It should gravely worry all Americans...

"Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russian Federation to find the missing emails of (Hillary) Clinton", Brennan wrote.

The White House did not claim that Brennan gave away classified information or national secrets. Brennan tweeted: "My principles are worth far more than clearances".

Democrats in Congress accused Trump of creating an "enemies list".

"Mr Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterised by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nations' most closely held secrets", Mr Trump's statement said.

He warned that authority regarding classified information must not become a political tool.

As part of his review, Trump said, he's "evaluating action" on Clapper, Hayden, Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, former FBI Special Counsel to the Deputy Director Lisa Page, and former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.

Usually when security clearances are revoked it is by the agencies that issued them, not by the president personally, he said.

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Also on the list are former FBI official Andrew McCave, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and, a now serving official, Bruce Ohr, all of whom have had some role to play in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in USA polls in 2016 and the Trump campaign's possible collusion.

Also on the list: fired Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok, former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Lisa Page and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whom the president has tweeted about recently.

Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official now in the criminal division, was also on the White House list.

Appearing last night on MSNBC, Brennan elaborated, saying Trump has "badly sullied the reputation of the office of the presidency with his invective".

Mr Comey also said the president "lies to the American people every day, encourages racism, is a misogynist, and always puts his own interests" first.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee who also has been a frequent critic of Trump, tweeted that, "In adding John Brennan to his enemies list, Trump demonstrates again how deeply insecure and vindictive he is - two character flaws unsafe in any president".

"I think there needs to be an official determination made about this and that, I think, can only be done by the Mueller investigation", Mr. Clapper said.

"I do believe that Mr Trump chose to take this action, as he's done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration", he said.

"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.

Former top government officials like Brennan traditionally have retained their security clearances so they can advise their successors as well as continue to work in high-level foreign affairs positions.

The White House later distributed a revised version of the statement with the date removed.

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