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Trump Considering Pulling Security Clearances of Critics

Trump Considering Pulling Security Clearances of CriticsTrump Considering Pulling Security Clearances of Critics

US President Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of six former top national security officials who have been critical of his administration, a move that opponents and experts say would be an unprecedented politicization of the clearance process.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president is “exploring the mechanisms” to strip clearance from former CIA director John Brennan as well as five other former officials who have held some of the most sensitive positions in government: former FBI director Jim 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.

The leaders have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including Trump’s, AP reported.

Sanders accused the officials of having “politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances” by making “baseless accusations” that the Trump administration had improper contact with Russia or was influenced by Russia.

“The fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” she said.

Sanders did not cite specific comments made by any of the officials. But the president has been seething over the backlash to his meeting last week with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the ongoing investigations into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, whether his campaign aides were involved in the effort and whether he obstructed justice.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that “politicizing security clearances to retaliate against former national security officials who criticize the President would set a terrible new precedent.”

“An enemies list is ugly, undemocratic and un-American,” he added.

The threat to deny the officials access to classified information marks the latest escalation in the president’s ongoing war with the members of the US intelligence community.

 

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