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Trump considering revoking security clearances from 6 ex

Trump considering revoking security clearances from 6 ex

In an interview with CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Monday, Clapper was asked for his response to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders' bombshell that the White House was considering revoking his and five other former national security officials' clearances.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president is "exploring the mechanisms" to strip clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan as well as five other former officials who have held some of the most sensitive positions in government: former FBI Director Jim Comey; James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump's deputy FBI director until he was sacked in March. She had said the president was "exploring the mechanisms" to strip clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director Jim Comey and four others.

Sanders accused those former officials, most of whom have served both Democratic and Republican presidents in various jobs, of having "politicized and in some cases monetized their public service".

She said security clearance "provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence".

Clapper also said revoking clearances of intelligence officials critical of the president was "chilling".

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The speaker said security clearances are an administrative branch function and Congress doesn't delve too deeply into it. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is set to go on trial next week in Virginia.

Brennan called Trump's news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin "treasonous". Comey, who Trump fired as Federal Bureau of Investigation director a year ago, has said he does not have one, his friend Benjamin Wittes said on Twitter. One of the few who publicly sided with him last week, Senator Rand Paul, said he met with Trump on Monday and asked him to revoke Brennan's security clearance.

Paul made no specific allegations against Brennan, but floated a hypothetical situation based on the possible conflict-of-interest presented by Brennan's position as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for MSNBC, a vehemently anti-Trump network.

Security-clearance experts said while Trump probably does have the authority to unilaterally suspend or terminate a security clearance, no president has ever done so.

"An enemies list is ugly, undemocratic and un-American", he added.

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"I dont go back for classified briefings", he tweeted.

The government can shut off or take away clearances for people who are suspected of being security risks, or are at risk of being compromised, or who are involved with alleged criminal activity.

Brennan was CIA director under President Barack Obama and helped produce the intelligence reports that first found Russian Federation meddled in the election.

"If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that's a awful precedent, and it's a very sad commentary, and it's an abuse of the system", Clapper added.

The White House named six former intelligence, law enforcement and national security chiefs. "This is a free country, we have freedom of speech, we have people giving their opinions, and this is just beyond the pale", he said.

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