Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Sunday that he is strongly considering legal action after the Trump administration revoked his security clearance last week.
In a Sunday interview with NBC‘s Chuck Todd, Brennan blasted Trump for what he calls an “egregious abuse of power and authority,” adding that he’s “been contacted by a number of lawyers” who have advised him on legal options – including the possibility of an injunction to stop more clearances from being revoked.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 19, 2018
On Wednesday, the White House announced that it was revoking Brennan’s clearance, and that the status of other former officials was under review. Critics have accused the White House of trying to silence political opponents (who appear in front of millions of people each week on cable news networks – though CNN ratings did just get smoked by Ancient Aliens), while more clearances are on the chopping block.
“Trump says he is reviewing security clearances for nine other individuals: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr. Some have been publicly critical of the president, while others are linked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference,” wrote the Washington Post on Wednesday.
Brennan’s firing has been criticized by over a dozen former top intelligence officials, as well as 60 ex-CIA members who condemned the action.
On Thursday, Brennan wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, claiming Trump is trying to silence him. Trump, meanwhile, revoked Brennan’s clearance for what he called “unfounded and outrageous allegations” against his administration, while also announcing that the White House is evaluating whether to strip clearances from other former top officials.
Trump later told the Wall Street Journal his decision was connected to the ongoing federal probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegedly collusion by his presidential campaign.
“I call it the rigged witch hunt, (it) is a sham,” Trump said in an interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. “And these people led it.”
“It’s something that had to be done,” Trump added. –Reuters
Writing in the New York Times, Brennan – who led the CIA under President Obama, called Trump’s denials of collusion with Russia “Hogwash,” and vowed not to be silenced.
“The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets,” Brennan wrote in the Times.
Mr. 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. -John Brennan
On Wednesday, Brennan tweeted that Trump’s move “should gravely worry all Americans” as it is “part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.”
“I will not relent,” he concludes…
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
Late Friday, Brennan said in his first live TV interview since being stripped of his clearance that Trump is “drunk with power,” before admonishing Congressional GOP.
“Are the Republicans on the Hill who have given him a pass going to wait for a disaster to happen before they actually find their backbones?” Brennan said.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director? He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!”
Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director? He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Benghazi survivor and former Army ranger Kris Paronto – who lost his security clearance years ago after telling his account of the Benghazi attack – slammed Brennan in a Thursday tweet which reads: “My principles are greater than clearances too John, especially when you and the @CIA kool-aid drinkers punished us for not going along with the Benghazi cover-up story in order to protect you, @HillaryClinton ‘s & @BarackObama ‘s failures. You put your politics before us.”
My principles are greater than clearances too John, especially when you and the @CIA kool-aid drinkers punished us for not going along with the Benghazi cover-up story in order to protect you, @HillaryClinton ‘s & @BarackObama ‘s failures. You put your politics before us. https://t.co/qWFWujKthL
— Kris Paronto (@KrisParonto) August 16, 2018
Discussing the petition signed by former officials, Paronto said: “Of course the former @CIA and @ODNIgov directors sign a petition, because they want the continue to feel they are above the law and above us common folk….no more eltists, rules apply to you just like everyone else.”
Of course the former @CIA and @ODNIgov directors sign a petition, because they want the continue to feel they are above the law and above us common folk….no more eltists, rules apply to you just like everyone else. @JohnBrennan #DeepState #crybabies https://t.co/jYs2FLAlXL
— Kris Paronto (@KrisParonto) August 17, 2018
The @CIA @FBI and @NSAGov did everything in it’s power to cover up shady @BarackObama activities, criminal @HillaryClinton activities&tried to influence the presidential election with misinformation&leaking info to the MSM. Now they’re up in arms over their Security clearances?
— Kris Paronto (@KrisParonto) August 17, 2018
Remember when two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee called for Brennan’s resignation in 2014 when the CIA was busted spying on Congress?
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) became the first senator to make the call when he issued a statement declaring that he had “no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan.”
“The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said.
“This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers,” Udall continued. “These offenses, along with other errors in judgment by some at the CIA, demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership, and there must be consequences.”
Remember in 2013 when the New York Times published Glenn Greenwald’s op-ed entitled “By Nominating John Brennan, Obama Is Ignoring War Crimes” ?
Greenwald describes how Brennan’s support for Bush-admin-era “torture, rendition and warrantless eavesdropping” were criminal acts, and that:
“following Obama’s lead, the country has decided to ignore the fact that it committed grievous crimes as part of the “War on Terror.” Obama’s Orwellian decree that we must “look forward, not backward” has convinced huge numbers of citizens to sweep this all under the rug and pretend it never happened. That is what explains how Brennan went from radioactive and unconfirmable in 2008 to uncontroversial in 2013.” –Glenn Greenwald via NYT
And despite all that, Brennan is now a hero to the same people just a few years later. What changed?