WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday, accusing Brennan of using his access to classified information to “sow division and chaos” about the Trump administration.
FILE PHOTO: Former CIA Director John Brennan arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing evaluating the intelligence community assessment on “Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
Trump announced the decision in a statement read by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at her daily news briefing.
Trump said he was also reviewing the security clearances of several other former ranking government officials, all of whom have criticized Trump, including former U.S. national intelligence director James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden and former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, among others.
Brennan, who was director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency under Trump’s predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, has been a sharp critic of Trump, frequently appearing on cable television news shows to attack his foreign policy positions.
Trump’s statement said Brennan had engaged in “increasingly frenzied commentary” and abused his access to classified information by using it to “sow division and chaos.”
“At this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior … That conduct and behavior has tested and far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that has been due to him,” Trump said.
A spokesman for Brennan declined to immediately comment.
The move against Brennan came a day after the former CIA director denounced Trump in a tweet for his criticism of Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House aide who wrote a book critical of the president.
“It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation,” Brennan wrote.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown