President Donald Trump is revoking the security clearance of former Obama administration CIA director Brennan (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, File)President Donald Trump speaks before signing the $716 billion defense policy bill named for Sen. John McCain during a ceremony Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Fort Drum, N.Y. (Hans Pennink/AP)White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reads a statement from President Donald Trump announcing that he will remove the security clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan during the daily press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is revoking the security clearance of former Obama administration CIA director John Brennan, a vocal critic of the president, the White House said Wednesday.
“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Brennan has been deeply critical of Trump’s conduct, calling his performance at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland “nothing short of treasonous.”
Sanders said the security clearances of other current and formers officials are also “under review.”
They include former FBI Director James Comey; James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump’s deputy FBI director until he was fired in March.
Also on the list: fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.
At least two of the former officials, Comey and McCabe, do not currently have security clearances.
Experts have said that stripping a security clearance in response to public criticism would be an unprecedented politicization of the clearance process.
Former CIA directors and other top national security officials are typically allowed to keep their clearances, at least for some period, so they can be in a position to advise their successors and to hold certain jobs.