Almost 200 former intelligence officials are calling Trump out for revoking former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, a move they said will weaken the entire country.
On Monday, 177 former intelligence officials — both Democrat and Republican — released a statement saying they don’t think the administration had a good enough reason to take away Brennan’s clearance on Aug. 15, despite Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ explanation that the White House revoked his clearance because of “the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.”
“Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former CIA Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them,” their statement reads. “What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”
The statement also references — and agrees with — another letter from 15 former senior intelligence officials that came shortly after Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance and denounced the president's decision as “ill-considered” and “unprecedented.”
Trump revoked Brennan’s clearance in a move many are calling an effort to retaliate against critics of his administration. The former CIA director has been outspoken against Trump before his security clearance was revoked and continued to rail against the administration afterward.
Brennan’s called the president “drunk on power” and said some of his acts were “not short of treasonous.” In response, Trump tweeted over the weekend that Brennan “will go down as easily the WORST in history,” adding that he was a “loudmouth, partisan, political hack.” He continued calling out Brennan in a series of tweets Monday morning.
Former security officials, regardless of their political affiliation, tend to keep their security clearances to help consult with the White House in times of crisis. But Trump didn’t even consult Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, before revoking Brennan’s clearance, CNN reported. And in July, when the administration first started indicating they planned to pull security clearances, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan said he thought Trump was “trolling people, honestly.”
Read the officials’ full letter below: