Progressives, including the mainstream media, are apoplectic because President Trump rescinded former CIA director John Brennan’s top secret security clearance. The president is currently in the process of deciding whether or not other disgraced members of the Obama administration (James Clapper, James Comey, Susan Rice, Michael Hayden, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr) deserve to have their clearances pulled as well. (Hell, yes!)
Progressives ridiculously cry out that removing top secret clearance from former Obama officials violates their First Amendment rights, although nobody is stopping any of them from speaking.
Quite obviously, having top secret clearance is a privilege bestowed constitutionally by the president; it’s not a constitutional right in and of itself.
Others claim that the president is retaliating against his critics although, to borrow a line from most mainstream media critics of the president’s, they make these allegations without offering any evidence whatsoever.
(Search on the phrase, “the president claimed without evidence” and see what comes up, and how often.)
Still others claim that the president is trying to “punish” or “intimidate” those who criticize him; again, they offer no evidence.
(Why shouldn’t we hold the media to the same standard they set for President Trump? Where’s the evidence that the president’s motives are anything other than what his spokesperson has stated? If the president has to provide “evidence” for his opinions, policy judgments, or reasoning, then why don’t the media have to do the same, when they speculate about the president’s motives or allow others to spew political opinion disguised as fact?)
Pulling Brennan’s clearance is without precedent, progressives howl, even though Obama removed the security clearance of a whistle blower who was apparently onto some of the shady goings-on in the Obama administration. This happened right about the time that the anti-Trump insurance policy was going into effect. The questions the whistle blower asked directly concerned someone potentially being paid to
spy on “use … tradecraft” against Trump’s campaign.
By tradition, former intelligence officers are allowed to retain their security clearances for a time (e.g., Bush officials retained them for “at least a year,” which implies that at some point Obama pulled them).
This tradition exists only so that incoming officials can tap the expertise of former officials; it’s not for the benefit of the former officials themselves.
However, it’s distinctly unlikely that Trump officials would ask anything of John Brennan (or trust anything he says at this point, all things considered).
Indeed, there’s a special caveat in the tradition, just for John Brennan: [emphasis added to quotes]
In the case of former CIA directors, the agency “holds” their security clearance and renews it every five years for the rest of their lives. However, that requires former CIA directors to behave like current CIA employees if they want to keep their clearance, which means avoiding travel to certain countries and generally living in a manner above reproach.
Which means, by any reasonable standard, that former CIA directors ought to refrain from publicly accusing the President of the United States of treason and also ought to refrain from openly joining, if not leading, an organized “resistance” against the new president’s administration!
Ever since President Trump took office, the mainstream media has written story after story (90% of them negative) criticizing the president and breathlessly touting the Clinton/Obama/Deep State nonsense that Trump “colluded” with Russia, to help the evil Russians interfere in the 2016 election and work against Hillary Clinton.
These former officials would also be political enemies of President Trump, who are always willing to back up each other’s stories, thus providing the complicit media with the required number of sources who, of course, say the same thing, in lockstep, by design, because they collude, plan, and conspire to do so (not unlike members of the Democrat Party).
Anonymous “former officials” leaking to the media, alleging that they know without a doubt that President Trump colluded with Russians, is in and of itself reason enough to pull their clearances.
When these people speak publicly, because they do have security clearances at the highest level, that alone lends credibility to their claims, even if the claims are simply politically motivated lies, told perhaps even to help save their own behinds. As Sarah Sanders said,
Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.
Some who applaud President Trump’s move cite the fact that former officials with security clearances are able to use that status to line their own pockets. Brennan’s supporters claim that’s not something he would do. Of course not, he’s a patriot! Besides, isn’t he pro-communism and so anti-capitalism? Yet one person who knows Brennan has this to say,
Brennan and the others have cashed in on their government service. They’ve all become rich by sitting on corporate boards. Brennan is on the board of directors of a company called SecureAuth + CORE Security. He also serves on the board of The Analysis Corporation, which he helped found before joining the Obama Administration. Finally, and most importantly, Brennan is now the official talking head and “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC.
That same writer provides yet more excellent reasons why former officials should not retain top secret security clearances:
This has abuse written all over it. First, these officials run the risk of exposing classified information in a television interview, either inadvertently or not. Second, and more cynically, what is to keep them from propagandizing the American people by simply spouting the CIA line or allowing the CIA to use them to put out disinformation? What’s to keep them from propagandizing the American people by selectively leaking information known only to the intelligence agencies and Congress? Or to release information passed to them by the FBI?
Propagandizing the American people for political reasons, putting out disinformation, for revenge because their chosen one was not elected, or out of a desire to save their own behinds from much-needed justice, may be exactly why so many “former officials” from Obama’s administration are openly or anonymously speaking out against President Trump.
And who is there who can put the lie to their lies? Current officials must follow protocol. They can’t join the fray. It would be unseemly and damaging to the country and to our national security. They can’t discuss classified information, even to refute harmful lies.
There’s another good reason to pull the security clearances of all these former Obama officials: It’s doubtless a crime for anyone who is a current member of our government to share classified information with anyone who doesn’t have the appropriate security clearance, especially if they’re sharing with a former Obama administration official who has very publicly had his or her clearance pulled.
In fact, it’s important to very publicly pull these clearances, to put potential leakers on notice. Pulling the security clearances of these politicized former officials will plug a big leaky hole that has been damaging to the administration and, by extension, to all of the country.
Holdovers from the Obama administration as well as Clinton aficionados, never-Trumpers, and progressives who work in our government may actually stop abusing their positions and will stop leaking or sharing information with those who leak to the media, because these leaks are damaging to our national security, not to mention to the national psyche.
Peter Strzok was fired this past week. Other Obama administration holdovers, other career government employees who are Clinton/Obama supporters, may think more than twice about sharing inside information with any of Obama’s mendacious former officials, lest these employees end up like Peter Strzok (fired).
Career government employees do very well for themselves. They have good benefits, relatively high salaries, great health care, and excellent pensions. All of the above will be placed at risk if they illegally share classified information with the likes of Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Hayden, Rice, Ohr, Yates, Strzok, or McCabe, or anyone else who has been suspected of colluding with or leaking to the mainstream media, to the detriment of our country.
Shutting down these anonymous media sources is long overdue.
Way to go, Senator Rand Paul, who was instrumental in asking for a review of these clearances.
Thank you, President Trump.