Public Reactions To President Trump’s Revoking Brennan’s Security Clearance
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A public rebuke of President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, the ex-CIA chief who has been openly critical of the president, was formed by an avalanche of retired senior intelligence officials and spies joining more than a dozen of their bosses. With a total of 60 former CIA station chiefs, analysts, operations officers, and a former director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a rare and brief statement (in italics, below) was declared on Friday, August 17, 2018, afternoon, that their “firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views….We believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing .”
Statement From 60 Former CIA Officials Regarding The Removal of Security Clearances
In a recent statement 15 senior former intelligence officials expressed their strong opposition to actual or threatened removal of security clearances from former government officials. All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so. Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them. What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.
This brief statement follows a similar statement issued late on Thursday by 11 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and one director of national intelligence. They decried the removal of the security clearance as “a political tool”. These two statements were followed by a blistering op-ed by retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, in solidarity with Brennan, appealed to Trump to revoke his security clearance as well.
On Friday, August 17, 2018, a former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said, “in the process of putting out the first letter, we heard from a lot of people who were not directors of agencies but wanted to know, “How do we get in, as well?”Such speedy and overwhelming response was unprecedented. Harlow further commented, “They are trying to speak out against politicizing national security and security clearances. This is not about a person. It is about the practice of trying to regulate speech by former officials by tinkering with their security clearances.” He continued, “There are rules and regulations under which circumstances they should be removed. None say they should be removed if the holder of the security clearance annoys the president.”
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