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Furor over revoked security clearance grows as Trump said to threaten more

Furor over revoked security clearance grows as Trump said to threaten more

The Washington Post reported on Friday that the White House, at Trump's behest, has drafted documents to revoke the security clearances of several other current and former officials who've criticized him or been part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump told White House reporters on August 17 that it is a "disgrace" for Bruce Ohr to be at the department.

"I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie", Trump told reporters outside the White House.

'I don't know McRaven, ' Trump said Friday, declaring that 'I've gotten tremendous response from having done that because security clearances are very important to me.

Later Friday, 60 additional former Central Intelligence Agency officials issued a statement objecting to the Brennan action and stating their belief "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".

The president's comments were a swift departure from the official explanation given by the White House earlier Wednesday that cited the "the risks" posed by Brennan's supposed "erratic conduct and behaviour". "I could go into conflict after conflict", Trump said.

Trump on Wednesday openly tied his decision to strip Brennan of his clearance - and threaten almost a dozen other former and current officials - to the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

Trump this week stripped Brennan, a fierce critic of his presidency, of his security clearance in what prominent United States intelligence officials have characterized as an attempt to stifle political opponents. "I've never respected him".




But unlike some of the other outrageous acts Trump chooses to fill his time with, ranging from the misguided to the deeply offensive, the path he's on of using his discretionary security clearance powers is potentially criminal.

They said they did not necessarily concur with all the opinions expressed by Brennan, or the way in which he expressed them. All of these former officials have decades of valuable expertise and experience, but they've also spoken critically about the Trump Administration, in moves that have made them unpopular - and the subjects of "frenzied commentary" from the president. "Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials", the former top officials said in their Thursday statement.

Other signers include Clapper and former CIA directors William Webster, Robert Gates, Porter Goss, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, as well as five former deputy directors and former director of national intelligence Dennis Blair.

Hayden and James Clapper, another official on the statement and the former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama, are both included on a list of officials that the administration is considering stripping of security clearances.

While Brennan was a clear target of Trump's action, Hayden said in an interview, another is "everybody else on the list".

He continued: "I think he's abusing the powers of that office. This series of events", he said, "has made that even harder than it already is".

As the Washington Post's Aaron Blake explained in an article Friday, though, retaliating against people for providing true information to law enforcement is a federal crime on its - §1513.

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