White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday surprised reporters by declaring that President Trump was looking into revoking the security clearances of a number of former Obama-era officials who have been critical of the current administration.
Those being considered are former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—although, as the Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett noted on Twitter, neither McCabe nor Comey have had security clearance for months.
In an interview with CNN, Clapper called the situation a “petty way of retribution for speaking out.”
Why any of the (admittedly terrible) people named by Sanders need security clearances from jobs most of them haven’t held in years is a worthwhile question to ask. But it’s pretty clear that Trump isn’t booting them out of the Top Secret club because of some principled opposition to their years of accumulated skeletons in the country’s darkest closets. Instead, he’s doing what he does best: inventing a bullshit “controversy” in order to vilify people he doesn’t like.
Nevertheless, without a hint of irony (or shame!) Sanders explained that “the president doesn’t like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political.”
She also accused those named as having “in some cases monetized their public service” (unlike, say, the president, whose Washington DC hotel has been doing just gangbusters lately, thanks for asking).