Trump considering revoking 6 ex-Obama officials' security clearance

16 August, 2018, 11:58 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • President Trump Is Considering Revoking Security Clearances of His Critics

President Donald Trump is exploring "mechanisms" to revoke security clearances for former US officials who have criticized him for his handling of the Russia investigation and his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.

The move immediately prompted accusations of political retaliation by current and former officials, as well as security analysts, who said Trump would set a unsafe precedent by punishing political speech. She said the former officials have "politicized, and in some cases, monetized their public service".

They have "politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances", Sanders told reporters. She added that "making baseless accusations" of any improper relationship with Russian Federation is "inappropriate".

U.S. media have described the White House move as a reprisal against the administration's outspoken critics.

A number of former top national security officials have criticized Trump.

The speaker said security clearances are an administrative branch function and Congress doesn't delve too deeply into it.

Republican Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted earlier that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Mr Brennan's clearance at a meeting with President Trump.

"John V. Berry, an attorney who represents federal intelligence agency employees, said such a move would "be bad for America" and totally defeat the process of defending national security".

Brennan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has also been outspoken in his criticism of Trump, arguing after the recent joint press conference with Vladimir Putin that Trump had met the constitutional threshold for impeachment. Rice called Trump's meeting with Putin a "historic mistake".

The GOP leader shrugged off the White House plan Tuesday, saying, "I think he's trolling people, honestly".

The threat to deny the officials access to classified information is the latest escalation in the president's war with members of the us intelligence community.

Ryan moved on quickly when asked whether it is unsafe for Trump to threaten people's security clearances over politics.

McCabe's clearance was deactivated when he was sacked from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for McCabe.

Standing beside Putin, Trump did little to counter the Russian leader's denials and show support for the USA intelligence community's findings that Russia meddled in the election.

Neither Brennan nor Rice immediately reacted to the news.

Experts appeared split on whether the president has the authority to unilaterally terminate a security clearance but said such a move would be unprecedented and ill-advised.

"I don't know whether they've been abusing their security clearance at all", said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber.

And one of the individuals - Hayden - told Vox's Alex Ward that revoking his security clearance won't stop him from speaking out.

Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the idea "ridiculous".


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