US President Donald Trump abruptly revoked former-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance and warned he may do the same to other former officials.
A statement read by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee, accused Brennan of having “leveraged” access to highly sensitive information to make a series of “unfounded and outrageous” allegations. In a statement attributed to Trump, she said Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nations’ most closely held secrets.
Brennan, who has been a vocal critic of the US president over his alleged ties to the Kremlin, said Trump was trying to “suppress freedom of speech and punish critics”.
Brennan had earlier called Trump’s performance at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland last month “nothing short of treasonous.”
Brennan said he had not heard from the CIA or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that his security clearance was being revoked, but learned of the move when the White House announced it.
Former CIA directors and other top national security officials are typically allowed to keep their clearances, at least for some period, so that they can be in a position to advise their successors.
Democrats, and even some Republicans, lined up to denounce the president’s move, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slamming it as a “stunning abuse of power.”