Taking aim at critics, White House seeks to revoke clearances

Washington (AFP) –


The White House said Monday it was looking into revoking the security clearances of former CIA director John Brennan, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, and several other top former US officials.

"The president is looking to take away Brennan's security clearance," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing.

"He's also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe," she said.

Sanders was referring to former FBI director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA chief Michael Hayden, former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

Brennan, Comey, Clapper and Hayden, in particular, have been harsh critics of Trump since he took office.

Following the president's summit last week with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Brennan described Trump's behavior as "nothing short of treasonous."

Sanders said the White House was exploring taking away the security clearances of the former officials because "they've politicized and in some cases monetized their clearances."

"It's extremely inappropriate, and the fact that people with security clearances are making baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence," she said.

A spokeswoman for McCabe, Melissa Schwartz, tweeted that his "security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated (in March), according to what we were told was FBI policy."

Clapper, interviewed by CNN, described the move as a "very, very petty thing to do."

Asked if the move was political, he said "I don't know how you present it any other way."

"This is kind of a petty way for retribution, I suppose, for speaking out against the president," Clapper said.