The Controversy Over John Brennan's Security Clearance Keeps Escalating

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Former CIA director John Brennan has been in the news since July, when he called the president “treasonous.” Brennan immediately became a #resistance hero (despite his highly questionable record), and last week Trump responded by abruptly stripping him of his security clearance.

Since then, Brennan and Trump surrogates have appeared on TV over and over, trading jabs and escalating the situation. Now, Brennan says he’s willing to take Trump to court over the clearance, according to the Washington Post “I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that,” he said on “Meet the Press.”


“If my clearances—and my reputation, as I’m being pulled through the mud now—if that’s the price we’re going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me, it’s a small price to pay,” Brennan added.

The White House is apparently preparing to strip clearances from several other former security officials, according to national security advisor John Bolton.


“I think it’s certainly appropriate, in a time when we’re seeing what I believe are unprecedented leaks of highly classified information, to look at the question of how many people have clearances, how many people received this very sensitive information, both inside the government and in the case of former officials,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The reaction from the intelligence community to Trumps actions has been strong. Former CIA director Michael Hayden said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the relationship between the intelligence community and the president was “dangerously close to being permanently broken.”


“Frankly, although John’s situation is the proximate cause for all of us signing letters and protesting, I think it’s kind of one additional straw that’s breaking the camel’s back,” Hayden said. “Our complaint is not just about this. It’s about the whole tone, tenor and behavior of the administration.”

But not everyone is happy about Brennan’s continued time in the spotlight. Former intelligence official James R. Clapper Jr. said on CNN that Brennan’s language is becoming “an issue in and of itself.” However, he added that he believes Brennan is reacting with“genuine concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values.”