In a published defense of former Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, a retired Navy admiral who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden has asked President Donald Trump to revoke his security clearance, too.
"So, I think it's something that had to be done", Trump said of taking away Brennan's clearance. Among them are former CIA Director William Webster, who was appointed to that post by President Ronald Reagan; Gen. David Petraeus, another former CIA director whom Trump had considered for a position in his own cabinet; and Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and NSA.
Trump has told advisers that he is eager to strip more security clearances as part of an escalating attack on people who have criticized him or played a role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Short form is that Rod Rosenstein says he was not directly connected to the investigation, but he served as associate deputy attorney general and has a past working relationship with Christopher Steele, who complied the infamous Steele Dossier which details facts that led investigators to worry that Russian operatives may have information that would compromise Donald Trump.
The Republican president also lashed out again at Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Moscow.
Brennan wrote: "Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him".
"I know that I've gotten tremendous response from having done that, because security clearances are very important to me".
He said that Brennan has somewhat transformed into a cable news pundit and has been extremely critical of the administration, unlike Woolsey and other former intelligence officials. To make matters much worse, not just Edward Snowden but an NSA/CIA/FBI contractor whistleblower client I once represented revealed to a number of so-called government authorities that Brennan, along with James Clapper, were the primary persons who authorized and then carried out mass surveillance by the CIA and NSA, also with FBI involvement, against hundreds of millions of American citizens. "Decisions on security clearances should be based on national security and not political views".
"Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nations' most closely held secrets", Trump said.
He denied that he was trying to silence Brennan, a frequent critic of the president.
During an appearance Thursday morning on "Fox & Friends" on the Fox News Channel, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's action.
Hayden warned the action will have a "chilling effect" on the entire intelligence community, "that if you disagree with the president, if you say things with which the president disagrees or he does not like, he is willing to take punitive action against you".