Former Obama CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance has been revoked, as Fox News reports:
President Trump has revoked the security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan, the White House announced Wednesday, in the first decision to come from a review of access for several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders read a statement on behalf of the president during the start of the press briefing, saying Brennan ‘has a history that calls his credibility into question.’
The statement also claimed Brennan had been ‘leveraging’ the clearance to make ‘wild outbursts’ and claims against the Trump administration in the media.
As one might expect, Mr. Brennan replied with his usual venom:
Various Democrat usual suspects gladly displayed the damage Trump Derangement Syndrome does:
As usual, Nancy Pelosi is somewhere off in progressive land inhaling fairy dust and frolicking with unicorns:
And the execrable Adam Schiff also demonstrated his tenuous grasp on reality:
Last month, the White House said they were looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey; former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).
Let us review, gentle readers. There is one elected, accountable official in our government with the ultimate responsibility and power (pro tip: governments have powers; people have rights) to grant and revoke security clearances: the President of the United States. He delegates this particular executive power to various departments and officials of the government, but he may revoke such clearances at will. There is no such thing as a right to a security clearance–the process for obtaining one is long and rigorous and many don’t make the grade–nor is there any right to retain a clearance after leaving government service. It has become customary to allow people, particularly high-ranking people, to keep their clearances, but there is no law requiring it.
However, Donald Trump is different. Exercising legitimate executive powers that in any other president would be unremarkable provokes indignant wails of “un-American,” “traitor,” “collusion,” “dictator” and “Russia!” Mr. Trump has not issued executive orders that violate the Constitution. He has rather rescinded orders that did, but that too has led to wide spread outrage and lawfare against him.
In this case, one of the most frenzied complaints is that President Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance to “silence” him and others. Apparently it worked. So intimidated and silenced is Mr. Brennan that he remains a paid CNN commentator, and was immediately–and one can be sure, eagerly–given an opinion piece in The New York Times:
The already challenging work of the American intelligence and law enforcement communities was made more difficult in late July 2016, however, when Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of Mrs. Clinton. By issuing such a statement, Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent.
Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do — and what they actually did — to win the election. While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services.
Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.
And what would those “dalliances” be, Mr. Brennan? Names, places and dates, please? You have the platform of the NYT. No? This is the substance of Mr. Brennan’s case against Mr. Trump. He “publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of Mrs. Clinton.” This illustrates Brennan’s fundamental political bias and dishonesty. this is what Mr. Trump, then campaigning for President, said:
Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing… I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
Democrats and the media (yes; one-in-the-same) immediately seized on that comment as evidence of collusion and treason, but rational people understood Mr. Trump was making fun not only of Clinton’s many and blatant crimes and the Obama Administration’s efforts to sweep them under the rug, but of those accusing him of colluding with Russia. Mr. Trump did not deliver the line as a serious request of a foreign government.
But quite apart from Mr. Trump’s unquestionable power to revoke the clearance of Brennan or anyone else, are there obvious reasons to leave Brennan bereft of clearance? Victor Davis Hanson believes so:
1) Lying to Congress. Brennan lied to Congress on at least two occasions (cf. his denial of CIA surveillance of Senate staffer computers and the claim of an absence of collateral damage in drone attacks), and perhaps three (his absurd denial of knowledge of the seeding of the Steele dossier among government agencies). Democrats used to be outraged by Brennan’s deceit, and a few in the past had called for his resignation. Note that James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence, has also misled Congress, concerning NSA surveillance of American citizens. Clapper has admitted such (e.g., ‘the least untruthful’ answer). Not lying to Congress is a pretty low bar to meet.
We can be reasonably certain President Trump has much more information about Mr. Brennan’s partisan activities and casual relationship with the truth than we do.
2) Accusations of Treason against a Sitting President. Brennan believes his denial of continued access to intelligence is an infringement on free speech. But it is really another low bar to ask a former CIA director to refrain from leveling unproven charges of treason against the current president of the United States (‘nothing short of treasonous’; ‘When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history’). Such invective in theory could have foreign-policy consequences by branding the slander of presidential disloyalty with an imprimatur of a CIA security clearance.
Note again that James Clapper similarly flat-out accused the president of the United States of treason, in being a spy for the Russians (‘I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president’). Clapper, of course, has no proof of that low charge. Nor has he produced any after his on-air accusation. If he is suggesting that his security clearance has allowed him access to incriminating evidence, then he should say so.
Part of the reason past CIA directors, and others, have routinely retained security clearances is they have done nothing to subvert the lawfully elected President and his administration. They have behaved responsibly, and tended to live quiet, low profile lives, using their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of America, often advising the presidents that followed them. Why would Mr. Trump wish advice from arguably the most partisan, corrupt and hostile CIA Director in history, a man who played a large role in trying to keep Mr. Trump out of the White House, and who continues to do everything he can to depose him?
Brennan has allied himself with the media, which complains Mr. Trump’s accurate criticism of them heralds the destruction of the First Amendment and democracy. They fail to see the irony of their position as they broadcast and publish, unimpeded and unpunished, other than Americans finally seeing them for the dishonest Democrat operatives they are. Which is more dangerous to our representative republic: Mr. Trump criticizing the media and John Brennan, or the media and John Brennan trying to overturn a free and fair presidential election?
3) Hired Political Commentary. Former intelligence chiefs certainly have a perfect right to offer their expertise, even enhanced by their current security clearances, against or in support of a current administration, on both foreign-policy and intelligence challenges, and as guest experts on television, radio, social media, and in print.
That said, hiring oneself out as a political partisan to a network should be a different matter.
Had Brennan and Clapper now and then visited the networks to voice their concern about Trump’s cancellation of the Iran deal or moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, it would be one thing. But going on salary with MSNBC and CNN to profit from one’s emeritus status and security clearances to libel the president of the United States removes all appearances of disinterested commentary. As private citizens, they can do all that on their own time without any vestigial connections to the U.S. government.
It is, of course, no coincidence Brennan has allied with CNN in their continuing efforts for The Resistance. Nor have Brennan’s First Amendment rights suffered the slightest infringement. He will surely continued to be paid well to assist CNN in its never-ending project to depose President Trump.
There is a substantial difference between rationally and calmly discussing policy differences and actively working to overthrow the results of a lawfully conducted election. Mr. Brennan remains able to do either. He just won’t have a security clearance as he does.
As to revoking the security clearances of the other Obamite minions, one can only hope Mr. Trump dispossesses them even more promptly. It couldn’t happen to nicer, less honest people.